Passion and Philanthropy at 2016 Libations for Life

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Like a favorite cocktail, this year’s Libations for Life had the perfect blend of ingredients for a delicious girls’ night out. On Thursday, Oct. 6, more than 150 guests met up for a variety of fun beverages, tasty buffet tidbits and inspiring speakers at Mile High Station. In its sixth year (formerly known as Cocktails for a Cure), the event attracts supporters of University of Colorado Cancer Center, all determined to help fund its efforts to wipe out women’s cancers in this lifetime.

Sampling a Paloma from Table 6 Restaurant

Sampling a Paloma from Table 6 Restaurant

The evening began with tunes by DJ G Funk, a silent auction, tasty treats from Relish, and an array of beverages and specialty cocktails served up by five of Denver’s hottest bartenders—all donated their time to the event. Event co-chairs Jessica Channell and Emily Jordan addressed the crowd, and 9News anchor and honorary chair Kim Christiansen emceed a program full of passion and inspiration. Virginia Borges, M.D., talked in detail about CU Cancer Center’s successes based on its research, teamwork and individual attention for patients. She, representing the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Translational Program, and Dohun Pyeon, M.D., of ChemoKine-Based Immunotherapy for Cervical Cancer, were honored as this year’s funding recipients.

Julie Clark smiles at guests as she autographs "Cancer Assassin" t-shirts and her children's book, "You are the Best Medicine."

Julie Clark smiles at guests as she autographs “Cancer Assassin” t-shirts and her children’s book, “You are the Best Medicine.”

Julie Aigner Clark, two-time cancer survivor (who told the crowd she prefers “cancer assassin” as a descriptor), had the room riveted to her story from the very first moment as she began her talk reading from her children’s book “You’re the Best Medicine.” When Christiansen initiated a call for donations, Clark was first to hold up a paddle with a $10,000 pledge … followed up by numerous others donating varying amounts. At program’s end, Clark took time to autograph her book, as well as “Cancer Assassin” t-shirts.

Julie Clark recognizes her daughters Sierra (left) and Aspen from the stage.

Julie Clark recognizes her daughters Sierra (left) and Aspen from the stage.

Organizers write: Proceeds from Libations for Life support research and treatment programs at the CU Cancer Center for women’s cancers. Funds raised have significant local impact on clinical programs that will benefit hundreds of Coloradans. In addition, the scientific achievements supported will have national reach, as bold breakthroughs made here affect protocols nationwide. The CU Cancer Center imagines a world in which we celebrate survival moving forward with new research and technology, a world when the cancers prevented outnumber the new diagnoses. A world where cancer is a chronic disease, not a fatal one. Please visit http://supportcuanschutz.ucdenver.edu/libations-for-life/.

The University of Colorado Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute- designated comprehensive cancer center serving Colorado, and one of just 41 in the United States. The CU Cancer Center is also one of 25 elite members of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, setting the gold standard in terms of national and international guidelines for clinical practice in oncology. The CU Cancer Center’s scientists and cancer clinicians work at the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado State University, University of Colorado Health (which includes University of Colorado Hospital, Memorial Hospital, Poudre Valley Hospital, and Medical Center of the Rockies), Children’s Hospital Colorado, Denver Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Denver Health, National Jewish Health, and Kaiser Permanente. This consortium structure has made a significant impact on cancer treatment and survivorship locally, such as higher 5-year survival rates than statewide and national averages for several cancer types, including cancers of the prostate, breast and lung. Although the funds raised have significant local impact and the clinical programs benefit hundreds of Colorado residents, the scientific achievements have a national reach and move the scientific community closer and closer to finding a cure for cancer. For more information, please visit: https://www.uchealth.org/pages/services/colorado-cancer-center.aspx .

"Dinner in White" Pop-Up Party: Magnifique!

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On Saturday, Aug. 20, Dinner in White attendees eagerly awaited a mass text answering the annual question du jour: Où est la fête? This year, the popular pop-up party and fundraiser was held at Infinity Park Event Center, and almost 200 white-clad guests made a beeline for Glendale and the 7 p.m. start. Inspired by Diner en Blanc in Paris, for the third consecutive year Dinner in White continues the mystery and intrigue in Denver, following only two basic rules: 1) Guests are surprised with the party site on the day of the event; and 2) Everyone dresses in white … with dancing shoes strongly encouraged. The result? A fun experience for all that supports the CU Cancer Center.

At sunset, the reception winds down and guests make their way to the dinner tent.

At sunset, the reception winds down and guests make their way to the dinner tent.

Guests at the annual white delight can enjoy a sit-down dinner with unlimited beverages or bring a picnic supper for the outdoor party. The evening began with an open Parisian market and the chance to check out pétanque, a French target-toss game. Partygoers could also mark the evening at a photo area, with the added opportunity to dedicate that photo to loved ones not present. Members of the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts entertained with smooth sounds, and after dinner DJ St. Patty was on hand to crank up the energy with dance tunes.

Dr. Ross Camidge, Director of the Thoracic Oncology Clinical and Clinical Research Programs at the CU Cancer Center, with patient Kimberly Ringen, DVM. Both spoke to guests during the dinner program.

Dr. Ross Camidge, Director of the Thoracic Oncology Clinical and Clinical Research Programs at the CU Cancer Center, with patient Kimberly Ringen, DVM. Both spoke to guests during the dinner program.

Steve Peckar served as emcee for the short dinner program. Ross Camidge, M.D., CU Cancer Center’s chair of lung cancer research, told guests about the Center’s success and introduced keynote speaker Kim Ringen, D.V.M., his patient. Ringen was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer in June, 2013. As an athletic, 36-year-old non-smoker in her second trimester of pregnancy, she never thought she would hear those words: “You have lung cancer.” As a patient advocate, she shares her story to inform others that “anyone with lungs can get lung cancer.”

The University of Colorado Cancer Center in Denver is one of just 45 elite Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the entire country and the only one in Colorado, known worldwide for developing and setting new standards in the treatment of many types of cancer. Patients gain the benefit of groundbreaking research and clinical trials and, of course, it means they get exemplary patient care. The Center’s five-year cancer outcomes far outpace state averages as well as those of many other cancer centers in the U.S. For more information, please call 720-848-0300 or visit https://www.uchealth.org/pages/services/colorado-cancer-center.aspx .

Premier Men's Event Defies Weather, Supports CU Cancer Center

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Even as cold rain showers were turning to snow and a dire blizzard warning loomed over the evening, guests at the 42nd annual Men’s Event rallied. Man’s game, people. On Monday, Nov. 16, nearly 175 men arrived at Elway’s looking positively dapper and festive, ready for a terrific evening to support the University of Colorado Cancer Center. Hearty handshakes, conversation and good cheer remained constant throughout the casual, sophisticated event.

The evening began with an informative cancer briefing by a panel of experts: Thomas Flaig, M.D.; Paul Maroni, M.D.; Scott Cramer, Ph.D.; and Thomas J. Pugh, M.D. An hour-and-a-half cocktail reception with passed hors d’oeuvres primed guests for a sumptuous steak-and-lobster dinner created by Elway’s chefs. Emcee Les Shapiro, also a committee member, kept his eye on the clock and the weather forecast, presiding over prize giveaways for lucky recipients and a live auction of competitive bidders.

The Men’s Event has become an institution in the philanthropic community and increased awareness of cancers specific to men, while supporting research to increase quality of life and survival rates. Funds raised through the event remain local, benefiting cancer research programs at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

The University of Colorado Cancer Center at the Anschutz Medical Campus is Colorado’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, a distinction recognizing its outstanding contributions to research, clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. CU Cancer Center’s clinical partner, University of Colorado Hospital, is ranked 15th by US News and World Report for cancer, and the CU Cancer Center is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network®, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers working to establish and deliver the gold standard in cancer clinical guidelines.

CU Cancer Center is a consortium of more than 400 researchers and physicians at three state universities and three institutions, all working toward one goal: Translating science into life. Its consortium structure has made a significant impact on cancer treatment and survivorship locally, such as higher five-year survival rates than statewide and national averages for several cancer types–including cancers of the prostate, breast and lung. For more information, please visit: ColoradoCancerCenter.org, and follow CU Cancer Center on Facebook and Twitter.

2015 Dinner in White benefiting Colorado Cancer Center

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National Geographic photographer and CBS Sunday Morning contributor Joel Sartore provided a lively and entertaining view of his wildlife photographs and the sense of humor that has kept he and his family’s spirits up despite the shadow of cancer in their lives.

Sartore reminded the audience that cancer is a time thief and a wake up call. Sartore, whose wife and son both successfully battled the disease in recent years shared his experiences with some 200 guests at this year’s event held Saturday, August 8 at Sculpture Park between the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and Speer Boulevard.

“It’s an opportunity to set things right, to concentrate on living. To pay attention,” says Sartore, keynote speaker for the annual Dinner in White outdoor event benefiting the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

Under a cloudy but rain-free late afternoon the event featured live music, french pastries, preserves and macarons, cotton candy, and dancing till almost midnight. Sartore has spent 20 years photographing endangered species and landscapes around the world. He provided a light-hearted and entertaining slideshow of his career, family life and their unique sense of humor as they have confronted and battled the disease on and off since 2005.

The University of Colorado Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center serving Colorado, and one of just 41 in the United States. The CU Cancer Center is also one of 25 elite members of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, setting the gold standard in terms of national and international guidelines for clinical practice in oncology.

 

 

Cocktails for the Cure 2014

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At first glance upon attending the 5th Annual Cocktails for a Cure event (presented by Sherman & Howard, L.L.C. and matched by The Salah Foundation to benefit cutting edge research for the University of Colorado Cancer Center), one might see lovely ladies enjoying swanky cocktails. While the rainbow variety of delicious cocktails was delightful, it became very clear quite quickly that the true heart of involvement from board members, organizers, vendors, and attendees alike was the spirit of camaraderie and a passion for prevention and community.

The evening began with attendees trying specialty cocktails including a deliciously ginger-based martini featuring earl grey tea and candied ginger, courtesy of Frasca Food & Wine, a healthy kale-pear vodka number presented by Bol; a blood orange and ginger beer drink by Tag; a raspberry and rosemary drink by Guard and Grace; and a delicious whiskey bitters and spiced pear drink with Jax. Chris Bates also offered his services as Sommelier.

While ladies browsed and chatted, the Wall of Wine was open to choose a donated bottle at random, with value from $20-$200 with a $25 donation. Ladies perused the silent auction that included highlights such as a Granby Ranch Getaway, a Blowout to Go Out to pamper you and eight close friends, and a VIP Nuggets Experience. Gourmet served as the caterers for the event, with a delicious menu of food items. Sugarlicious presented a fun array of party favors with cocktail-like themes, including “martini olives” that delightfully were actually chocolate-covered almonds. Happy Cakes cupcakes adorned a table in the back of the venue, with a variety of options including a French toast cupcake.

A celebrity wall for photographs to be taken filled the hallway, and committee members were easily spotted wearing glimmering tiaras that added to the magic of the evening. After attendees sipped on drinks, nibbled and noshed on hors d’oeuvres and chatted among themselves after perhaps putting in a bid to the silent auction—the speaking program began.

Celebrity emcee Brian Griese told the touching story of his passion for cancer research after the loss of his mother, and graciously and humorously introduced the speakers for the evening. Kasia Iwaniczko MacLeod shared her story in her battle with cancer, and was able to announce that Dr. Jennifer Diamond, one of her mother’s physicians, was one of the physicians whose research would be supported by the funds raised from the  event. Marti Awad, a courageous young woman and the youngest woman to take steps to prevent cancer with a double mastectomy, indicated how important it was to know and understand what cancer does and how it affects lives. Megan Fearnow stated that the reason the Salah Foundation was continuing to match contributions at this event for the third year in a row was because The University of Colorado Cancer Center was “on the tipping point of some very important breakthroughs that could contribute to serious change.”

As nods coursed through the room and women raised their cards to donate the much-needed funds, it was very apparent that this was more than just a fun night. Women in this room on stage and in the audience all were aware on a very personal level what this event was contributing to. Judy Delhey, a committee member for the event, summed up the spirit of the evening when she said, “Everyone is here to help focus on women, focus on what happens before cancer and to focus on what happens if you’re diagnosed. What do you do?”

It is apparent that every woman at this event wanted to both serve as support for those going through cancer as well as fight to find a way that women in the future would not have to make some of the same hard choices. An immense feeling of inspiration and genuine compassion radiated throughout the event as well as in the voices and hearts of every woman present.

Taste for Life Benefitting Project Angel Heart

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Project Angel Heart’s Taste for Life event was held at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Denver on November 5th. More than 800 community leaders, culinary experts and attendees enjoyed tasting plates and cocktails from a few of Denver’s most celebrated restaurants and caterers. Through ticket sales, donations and a silent auction, the annual event raises funds for Project Angel Heart, which provides nutritious meals for members of the community fighting life-threatening illnesses. Guests enjoyed live entertainment, a wide array of items at the silent auction, and complimentary food and beverages from some of the most popular establishments in the area.

Project Angel Heart is a non-profit organization that delivers nutritious meals to improve quality of life, at no cost, for those coping with life-threatening illness in the Denver Metro and Colorado Springs areas. Started in 1991 by providing 12 clients with a single donated meal, the organization has grown immensely, and now serves over 445,000 meals to nearly 2,000 clients in the area. Over the past 22 years, Project Angel Heart prides itself on serving “meals with love” for men, women and children living with a life-threatening illness.

2nd Annual Save the Males

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Save The Males – an evening gala that seeks to raise awareness about prostate cancer – has grown tremendously in the last few years. The event – with it’s exclusively female attendees – tries to do what the men who are actually susceptible to this insidious disease can’t seem to – with great good humor and no shortage of cocktails, speak frankly and earnestly about a disease and propose concrete steps to help address it.

The 250-attendee event started with a silent auction, which featured dozens of handbags as the main offering – from slouchy to stylish, beaded to bejeweled, vintage to briefcase to evening-wear.

The evening’s main entertainment was Patsy Decline (aka Lannie Garrett), a seasoned veteran of the cabaret circuit, who had the audience in stitches with her bawdy re-imagining on country classics and event-apropos song titles (not a one of them reprintable here).

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, by a wide margin. Affecting mostly older men, and likely to be undetected for long periods of time, the stigma of discussing it and the bewildering range of treatment options are among the reasons it has proven so hard for medical experts to tackle.

Keynote speaker Doctor Tom Flaig was able to entertainingly highlight the rather anemic advocacy and awareness efforts of prostate cancer, especially when compared to breast cancer, with it’s very public color (pink), events (Walk for the Cure), and celebrity spokespeople. “Women have walks,” he noted, “Men have crawls.” Men – it was claimed over and over again – need the sisterhood’s help to get organized, raise awareness, and get over the embarrassment and doctor-aversion of men susceptible to prostate cancer.

Through the silent auction and entry fee, organizers hope to raise $150,000 for the University of Colorado’s Prostate Cancer Research Program. And they had a great time doing it.