Susan G. Komen Chicago will hold its Ignite the Fight Gala presented by Wintrust on Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Westin River North, celebrating 20 years of funding global research and providing critical breast health services for the underserved in the Chicago area.
The anniversary celebration will feature Mario Lopez, Emmy-winning host of “Extra,” as the Celebrity More than Pink Ambassador, as well as 20 More Than Pink Heroes, who will be honored for their exceptional compassion, bravery and leadership in the fight against breast cancer.
The Gala will kick off with the Dearborn Street and Clark Street bridges over the Chicago River being illuminated in pink. The lighting ceremony, led by Ed Wehmer, president and CEO of Wintrust, will celebrate extraordinary people who have “bridged the gap,” by fighting to even the playing field for those who lack resources.
More than 1,000 people in the Chicago area die from breast cancer each year, and there is a large disparity in the city, with the mortality rate of African-American women being 40 percent higher than Caucasian women, according to Komen Chicago executive director Bonnie Gordon. Many of those deaths could have been prevented, with an earlier diagnosis and optimal care. Komen Chicago has distributed $17.4 million in community grants over the past 20 years, to ensure the underserved throughout the Chicago area get the care they need.
The bridge lighting takes place at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner, awards and dancing. Pink ties and pink cocktail attire encouraged. Tickets are now on sale at www.komenchicago.org/gala.
“All of us have been touched by cancer. Wintrust is excited to help give everyone a fighting chance for survival as we partner with Komen Chicago’s incredible 20th anniversary celebration,” Wehmer says. “We’re honored that so many inspirational people are lending their voices and sharing their stories to help Komen Chicago achieve the goal of providing Quality Care for All in Chicago.”
In addition to Lopez, an appearance client of Esterman.com, special guests and More Than Pink Heroes include Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen, and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton. Other Heroes include those who have faced the disease or lost loved ones, volunteers and caregivers. Gala co-chairs are the mother/daughter team of Marcy and Katie Twardak.