John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary Membership Luncheon at The Beverly Hills Hotel was a Huge Success

Before lunch there were a bevy of botiques both inside and out

The bonds of friendship, a bevy of boutiques and frequent laughter all held center stage at the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary's (JWCIA) Annual Membership Luncheon on Tuesday, September 19, at The Beverly Hills Hotel. 

Beautiful setting for lunch and the awards show

Event Co-chairs Jackie Banchik and Judy Litvack welcomed the more than 500 guests to the historic hotel's beautiful Crystal Room.  Gratitude and recognition filled the proceedings as Auxiliary Co-presidents Lois Rosen and Ilene Eisenberg shared the Auxiliary's long and successful history.

The food was scrumptious

Two-time Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Susan Sullivan, best known for her starring roles in Falcon Crest and Dharma and Greg, was the luncheon's special guest host.  Sullivan, who also appeared in the recent What a Pair!, benefiting the John Wayne Cancer Institute (JWCI), reminded everyone, 'The Institute is doing something deeply profound and it is why we are all here today.'

(1 to r) John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary Past Presidents Shirley Lipstone, Ina Lewis, Diane Feldman, Jackie Banchik, Ruth Weil, and Donna Rosen

Donna Rosen, Auxiliary Treasurer and CFO, presented a check in the amount of $483,700 to JWCI Chairman Patrick Wayne. 'Representing the Auxiliary Board is the most pleasurable part of the luncheon for me,' noted Rosen.  'There isn't anything we women won't do to find a cure for cancer.'  She proudly announced that the Auxiliary now boasts a membership of nearly 1,000.  'Over the years, your gifts have made so many of our groundbreaking projects possible,' Wayne responded, 'including our surgical oncology fellowship program, psychosocial program and essential laboratory equipment.  We are all very grateful.'

(1 to r) Ali Landry, JWCI's Chief of Science and Medicine Dr. Armando Giuliano and Avon Foundation Executive Director, Carol Kurzig

Joyce Green, the Institute's Senior Vice President of Business Development, introduced Sister Maureen Craig, recipient of the 2006 'Angel' Award.  'She came. She spoke. She conquered.' said Green.  'She resembles an angel in every way.'

(1 to r) Lou Lazatin, CEO of the JWCI and Saint John's Health Center and Dr. Donald Morton, Chief of the Institute's Melanoma Program - Auxiliary Co-presidents Ilene Eisenberg and Lois Rosen

A member of the Sisters of Charity of Levenworth, the founding order of Saint John's Health Center, Sister Maureen is Chaplain for the Center's Foundation.  An award-winning poet and prolific writer, she was honored for her ongoing commitment to patient advocacy and her dedication to Saint John's patients and families, providing a steady stream of much-needed support in difficult times.

(1 to r) Auxiliary Board Members Andrea Nelson Kopald and Teddi Gilderman, luncheon Host Susan Sullivan, and Auxiliary Board member Shirley Lipstone. Daughters of the original Auxiliary co-founders Noreen Nelson and Sandy Cohen, Andrea and Teddi, along with Shirley are co-chairs of the 2007 Odyssey Ball

Sister Maureen's warm and humorous acceptance speech highlighted the afternoon, as guests enthusiastically applauded her wisdom and humanity. 'I have come up with a new job for women,' she announced. 'Let's be companions in compassion.  We are united in purpose and what makes our lives wonderful are our family and our friends. We at Saint John's look forward to knowing you better as we companion each other on our journey together to fight this disease.'

Carolyn Dirks, Institute COO/CFO Gary Grubbs, Joyce Green

Established in 1992, the 'Angel' Award is given each year to a woman, outstanding in her field, who by her work has made a significant contribution as a role model to women everywhere.

(1 to r back row) JWCI Chairman Patrick Wayne, Ali Landry, Susan Sullivan, JWCI Vice President of Public Affairs and Development Alexandra Carter (1 to r front row) Sister Maureen Craig and Joyce Green

Actress Ali Landry and the Institute's Chief of Science and Medicine, Dr. Armando   Guiliano then presented the Auxiliary's Public Service Award to the Avon Foundation. Over the course of 50 years, it has raised over $450 million and awarded grants for women's empowerment and health.  'During this year's Avon Walk, I was reminded again of the enormity of the breast cancer problem,' said Dr. Guiliano.   'Every three minutes there is a new diagnosis. This year, the Avon walk raised $450,000 for the Joyce Eisenberg Keefer Breast Center.'

(Ito r) Ali Landry, luncheon Co-chairs Jackie Banchik and Judy Litvack, special Guest Host Susan Sullivan

The award was accepted by Carol Kurzig, Executive Director of the Avon Foundation. 'I am extremely proud that we have been able to donate almost $2 million to the John Wayne Cancer Institute,' said Kurzig.  'They do extraordinarily important work and we are so proud to be a part of it.' Added Dr. Guiliano, 'Remember, when Avon calls, buy something.'

(1 to r) Auxiliary Board members Sue Bender, Maddy Gordon, Shelley Perel

A new feature at this year's luncheon was the addition of a variety of glittering boutiques where guests were able to shop for items ranging from fine jewelry, handbags and lingerie to children's gifts, elegant clothing and fine stationery. Twenty (20%) percent of all monies raised at the boutique support the John Wayne Cancer Institute.

(Ito r) Auxiliary Board members Elaine Lerman, Joyce Eisenberg Keefer and Roni Eller

The John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary was founded in 1982 by Sandy Cohen and Noreen Nelson, both of whom had been treated for cancer at the Institute's Joyce Eisenberg Keefer Breast Center. Pledging to help fight the disease, they asked their friends to join their campaign, and began the Auxiliary with 14 women. From that original nucleus, the Auxiliary has grown to more than 800 members and since its inception, has raised almost $14 million.

Dr. Myles Cabot and Melinda Wayne Munoz

Proceeds raised at all Auxiliary events support the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center, one of the world's foremost cancer research centers, providing funds for research projects, equipment, and fellowships.  

(1 to r) Auxiliary Treasurer and CFO Donna Rosen (1) presents a check to Patrick Wayne with Co-presidents Ilene Eisenberg and Lois Rosen

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