Actress, author and filmmaker Alana Stewart, President of the Farrah Fawcett Foundation, will be presented with the “True Grit” Humanitarian Award and philanthropist Ruth Weil will be honored with “The Duke” Award at the 26th annual Odyssey Ball, the yearly fundraising event that benefits the John Wayne Cancer Institute (JWCI) at Saint John’s Health Center, Saturday, April 9 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

This year’s gala features a performance by singer, actress and dancer Julianne Hough, star of the upcoming feature film, Footloose. KTLA’s Sam Rubin will emcee.

The Odyssey Ball is organized by the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary, established in 1982 by two breast cancer survivors, Noreen Nelson and Sandy Cohen. This year’s gala chairs are Wendy Feldman, Teddi Gilderman and Marisol Zarco. Since its inception, the event has raised over $17 million to support the John Wayne Cancer Institute’s life-saving cancer research and treatment programs.

The “True Grit” Humanitarian Award will be presented to Alana Stewart, actress, author, filmmaker and President of the Farrah Fawcett Foundation. The JWCIA established the “True Grit” Award to recognize individuals who embody the American values that were characteristic of John Wayne. The first “True Grit” Award was bestowed upon Former First Lady Nancy Reagan in 2006.

Ruth Weil will be honored with the “Special Service Award,” affectionately called “The Duke,” presented annually to an individual who has made an extraordinary and lasting contribution in the fight against cancer or has demonstrated humanitarian spirit within the community.

Since 1981, the John Wayne name has been committed by the Wayne family to groundbreaking cancer research and education in memory of their father, who died of cancer. For 30 years, the courageous researchers at the John Wayne Cancer Institute have changed the way the world approaches cancer research and treatment yielding new breakthroughs that have helped doctors detect cancer sooner, stage it more precisely and treat it more effectively. Today, the Institute is enhancing its world renowned programs focusing on melanoma, breast, and gastrointestinal cancers as well as extending its expertise in cancer research, clinical practice and education to include brain tumors and prostate cancer.

For tickets and information, please call Garrett Durand, (310) 829-8324 or visit www.jwci.org.

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