Big Brothers / Big Sisters Awards & Odyssey Ball

It was appropriate that mega-star Morgan Freeman present the Excellence in Mentoring Award to Lori McCreary; his partner in Revelation Entertainment.

Lori produced her first film, Bopha! In 1992, and Morgan made his first time directorial debut in this critically acclaimed flick.  Since then, among their many successful ventures, including Along Came A Spider and Invictus, they have become partners and friends, and currently Lori is Exec Producer of Discovery Science’s Emmy nominated Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman.

Morgan Freeman presented Monitoring Award to Lori McCreary

As busy as Lori’s world is, one of her most gratifying experiences is serving as Mentorto young Cinthia Gonzalez.  They have a special bond, and it is obvious that they both realize immeasurable gain.

Barbara Lazaroff, creator of the Wolfgang Puck brand, and partner in fine dining establishments around the world, received the Innovator Award.  Barbara is a well-known humanitarian and among her many causes are Aviva Family and Children’sCenter,Israel Cancer Research Fund andShebaHospital inIsrael.  She is a huge supporter of the Future Fund, which awards college scholarships to graduating Little Sisters who are matched with mentors through Big Brothers Big Sisters of L.A.

Rachel MacFarlane performed at Odyssey Ball

Celebrated actress and model Amber Valleta emceed the event, which included an unusual fashion show by Neiman Marcus. As Tiffany Siart, President and CEO of the organization stated: “BBBSLA are fortunate to have such an extraordinary and dedicated family of donors and volunteers.”

John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary President, Anita Swift, granddaughter of John Wayne, welcomed more than 400 guests at the 28th Annual Odyssey Ball at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.  Michael Sitrick, CEO of Sitrick and Company, joined such former honorees as Kirk Douglas, Jack Lemmon, and Larry Hagman in receiving the Duke Award.  This special service award is presented to recipients who made extraordinary and lasting contributions toward the fight against cancer.  Sitrick, who is an internationally recognized expert in the use of communications, is called the “Wizard of Spin” and has provided counseling and advice to more than 1,000 companies. 

Anita Swift (Grand-daughter of John Wayne) with Patrick Wayne at Odyssey Ball

Patrick Wayne, Chairman of the Board of JWCI provided updates on the exciting progress being made the Institute.  The entireWayne family was there to support this cause, which was established in 1981, in honor of The Duke himself, the legendary John Wayne.  Proceeds of this year’s event support their surgical oncology Fellowship founded by Donald L. Morton, M.D.  The Wayne Family has pledged $500,0000 to this program.

Frank Mottek, News Anchor CBS/KNX News was Master of Ceremonies for the show, which featured a vocal performance by singer and voice actress, Rachel MacFarlane.  If the last name sounds familiar, she is the sister of Seth MacFarlane, (Family Guy) and provides the voices of numerous animated characters on this show, as well as American Dad.  Obviously her love of music is a family tradition, as Seth, a fan of The Great American Songbook, demonstrated recently when he hosted the Academy Awards.

Michael Sitrick accepting Duke Award at John Wayne Cancer Clinic event

Who can forget his rendition of “We Saw Your Boobs” at the last Oscar Show? We wonder what he will have in store if asked to host it again next year!

Kudos to Co-Chairs Susan Veerman and Cynde Wilen and all the hard working members of the Auxiliary, for planning and executing an evening of beauty, good taste, and a sense of well being that cancer is on its way to becoming eradicated!

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