Sylvester’s 20th Anniversary Gala Raises Record-Setting $1.3 Million
Nearly six hundred party-goers streamed into the J.W. Marriott Marquis Miami and Hotel Beaux Arts in downtown Miami for the 20th Anniversary Gala Celebration of UHealth’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center on Saturday evening, December 8. The spectacular party was capped off by achieving a record-setting fundraising amount of more than $1.3 million.
Gala guests, many who were adorned in spectacular ball gowns, enjoyed a reception with a luxury silent auction, dinner, a stunning performance by two-time Tony-Award winner Sutton Foster, and After Party with DJ Irie.
“Every donor and every gift may mean a healthier and longer life for a cancer patient,” said Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, who took over the reins of the cancer center six months ago, after spending nearly twenty years at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Guests arrived from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to support the ongoing research at Sylvester, increase cancer awareness and raise funds for the only academic-based cancer center in South Florida. Sylvester, part of UHealth at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, represents the most advanced approach to cancer care in the region, melding research with clinical trials, and the latest technological innovations. The gala is one of the primary fundraisers that support Sylvester’s mission of providing the most comprehensive and compassionate care to all patients.
Speaking to the crowd, UM President Donna E. Shalala said Sylvester provides “a shared mission of hope and healing” to those facing cancer, and declared the evening “a celebration of community.”
Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., expressed his gratitude to the patients and their families who have entrusted their care to Sylvester physicians and nurses, praising their “steadfast courage.” He added that Sylvester’s “strong academic backbone is the key to its tremendous success as the best cancer research and care resource in the region.”
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Caroline W. Halpern Award for exemplary service to The Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation and Stuart A. Miller and the Jay Weiss Award to W. Jarrard Goodwin, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Sylvester/UMHC –University of Miami Hospital and Clinics.
The Masters of Ceremonies for the evening were familiar to the gathering of 575 guests, Maria Celeste Arrarás, host and managing editor of “Al Rojo Vivo con Maria Celeste”, produced by Telemundo/NBC and Raul de Molina, co-host of “El Gordo y la Flaca,” produced by Univision. De Molina, a cancer survivor, said he “understands how important it is to be able to receive world-class treatment in our community.”
Following the stellar performance by Foster, the hundreds of guests were entertained late into the night by DJ Irie, the official Miami Heat DJ.
This year’s gala was planned by a committee of community leaders including the event chair, Jennifer Stearns Buttrick, of counsel at Stearns, Weaver, Miller, Weissler, Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. Buttrick’s dedication comes from a very personal experience. Having recovered from successful treatment for a renal tumor discovered two days after delivering her third child, Buttrick says she is “living proof of the expertise and compassion that Sylvester physicians provide.”