Gateway for Cancer Research — a nonprofit organization committed to funding innovative cancer research that helps people living with cancer to feel better and live longer as we work to end cancer as we know it — raised more than $3 million at the 2023 Gateway Celebrity Fight Night.
This year’s event featured a Studio 54 theme and was held on Saturday, April 1 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 raise funds for Phase I and Phase II cancer trials, the types of clinical studies at high risk of going unfunded. 100% of event proceeds will directly fund these early phase clinical cancer research, which often mark the first-in-human studies of promising new cancer drugs, devices, and therapies
The gala was hosted and emceed by 16-time Grammy Award winning producer David Foster, who has served as the event’s musical director for 22 years, and included performances from Earth, Wind & Fire; Nile Rodgers & CHIC; Taylor Dayne; Thelma Houston; The Sugarhill Gang; Katharine McPhee; and neon and LED dance troupe Light Balance.
Guests were also presented with the incredible stories of Beth Savage and Doug Hull, two patients directly impacted by Gateway’s clinical trials. Savage, herself a 40-year nursing veteran, was onsite to discuss her amazing journey, from a Stage 4 pancreatic cancer diagnosis—which she described as “a death sentence”—to meeting Sameek Roychowdhury, MD, chair of the Research and Grants Peer Review Committee for Gateway for Cancer Research, who fought on her behalf to enroll her in his ongoing trial at Ohio State University. Mr. Hull’s story was shared by two of his sons, who traveled to Phoenix to share a similar story of how Dr. Roychowdhury’s trial—this one a Gateway-funded telemedicine trial for remote blood monitoring of FGFR, of particular importance in early 2021, when Mr. Hull received his diagnosis and COVID was still far from under control—was a true game-changer for their father.
“Gateway Celebrity Fight Night is a truly one-of-a-kind event, an incredible combination of generosity, celebration, and a thrilling expression of the fighting spirit that we hope to inspire in our donors, researchers, and the patients whose lives we touch,” said Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson, Vice Chair at Gateway for Cancer Research and Gateway Celebrity Fight Night. “I’m honored and humbled by the turnout that we’ve seen here tonight, and excited to see the groundbreaking research that we’re able to fund after tonight’s incredible showing.”
Founded in 1991, Gateway for Cancer Research is guided by one clear vision: to shape a world in which a cancer diagnosis is no longer feared. The organization enlists a generous philanthropic community in the quest to end cancer as we know it, and as of 2023, has invested more than $100 million to fund over 200 clinical cancer trials at esteemed research institutions around the world, delivering hope and healing to more than 10,000 cancer patients. Gateway’s commitment to investing in clinical trials for even the rarest of cancers has led to lifesaving, practice-changing discoveries and contributed to new FDA-approved therapies for both rare and common cancers.
“Gateway for Cancer Research is a deeply personal organization to me,” said Founder Richard J Stephenson. “I founded it after witnessing my mother’s own struggle with not only cancer, but the lack of options that were offered to prolong her life. When she passed, I swore that I would do everything in my power to prevent other patients and their families from experiencing that anguish. To hear directly from those whose lives we’ve changed with this organization over the past thirty years is one of the great honors of my life.”
The black-tie event featured a cocktail reception, silent auction, elegant dinner and exciting live auction including one-of-a-kind luxury items. For more information about Gateway for Cancer Research, click here.