Gateway for Cancer Research, an internationally recognized philanthropic organization that has generated more than $90 million in charitable funding throughout its 27-year history, raised more than $5 Million at its inaugural Gateway Celebrity Fight Night, a result of a merger between Gateway and Celebrity Fight Night in 2021.

Reba McEntire performs onstage during Inaugural Gateway Celebrity Fight Night

This year’s event featured a “Stardust Dreams” theme and was held on Saturday, March 12 at the JW Marriott Resort and Spa Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona.

The event drew actors, entertainers, athletes, philanthropists, researchers and leading medical professionals from around the country to support the first in-person Celebrity Fight Night event since 2019. The star-studded gala was emceed by longtime host and GRAMMY Award winning superstar of country music Reba McEntire, included performances by Pitbull, CeeLo Green, The Tenors, London Essentials, Tony Vincent, David Foster, and Vonzell Solomon, and raised more than $5 Million for under-funded Phase I and Phase II cancer clinical trials.

“After two years away, the Gateway team hoped to reinvigorate and reinvent Celebrity Fight Night with a renewed purpose and sharpened fundraising focus, but we’re absolutely thrilled that tonight was so well-received, and, more importantly, so successful in raising funds for the trials that need our support,” said Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson, Vice-Chair at Gateway for Cancer Research and Celebrity Fight Night. “Nearly everyone is eventually touched by cancer, either personally or through loved ones, and it’s our goal—with the support of Celebrity Fight Night and their amazing team­–to ensure that every patient and family member gets the support they need until the day that we no longer fear a cancer diagnosis.”

Gateway for Cancer Research is a nonprofit 501©(3) organization committed to funding practice-changing clinical research and to ending cancer as we know it. Thanks to generous underwriting from the Stephenson Family, 99 cents of every dollar Gateway receives directly funds Phase I and Phase II cancer clinical trials. Gateway supports clinical studies at high risk of going unfunded, saving potentially life-saving research from the so-called “valley of death.”

“I founded Gateway for Cancer Research for personal reasons, after my mother died unnecessarily after being denied the kind of life-saving treatment that this foundation prioritizes,” said Founder Richard J Stephenson. "But what I realized was that my personal story wasn’t unique. There are so many of us in the “cancer club,” but to paraphrase Yogi Berra, it’s a club I’d rather not be a part of. That’s why events like this are so important. By humanizing our own battles, our own fights, we all become stronger."

The black tie event featured a cocktail reception, silent auction, elegant dinner and exciting live auction including one-of-a-kind luxury items. The live auction featured an intimate dinner with Reba McEntire, a Tito’s 25th Anniversary VIP Experience in Austin, an exclusive dinner in New York City with Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, and Martin Short, and more.

For more information about Gateway for Cancer Research, click here.

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