Celebration Ignites Discovery at this Year's Ball
The 14th annual Discovery Ball, chaired by Jeffrey and Patrice Pierce, successfully raised $600,000–including $215,000 pledged in cash donations–and continued to be the single largest fundraiser this year. The funds will support seed grants in four research programs and help the Cancer Center to be maximally competitive for external research funding.
"For first-rate patient care and cancer research to thrive in Rochester, support from the community is critical," noted Jonathan Friedberg, M.D., director, Wilmot Cancer Center. "Cancer is not an easy target, and we know that cooperative efforts are key to successful research and patient care. The investment made by the many people that attended the Discovery Ball will help our team rapidly pursue innovative scientific leads in the quest to answer key questions in cancer."
Attendees were brought to their feet after a moving speech from Webster resident, Georgiana Zicari. She was honored with this year's Inspiration Award, the Wilmot Cancer Center's highest honor, presented annually to an individual who has helped cancer patients and their families have hope for the future. Georgiana, a mom of two young children, has overcome Hodgkin's lymphoma and thyroid cancer, starting at age 14. She credits a close relationship with her physicians, her family and her faith for guiding her through both bouts of cancer.
The crowd also heard from University of Rochester President Joel Seligman; URMC CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D.; and Hucky Land, director of research and co-director, Wilmot Cancer Center; as well as Steve McCluski, chair of the Wilmot Cancer Center Board.
The festivities continued after the program into the evening with dancing and photo booth shots with silly props.
Donor Spotlight: Nancy & Friends Fighting Cancer
The announcement of a $100,000 gift from Nancy & Friends Fighting Cancer ignited excitement during the Discovery Ball program. The foundation was formed in memory of Nancy Zicari Infantino, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2002 at 32 years old. Nancy's brother, Bruce Zicari II, shared the exciting news of the gift as he addressed the audience at the Ball.
"These are the best ideas of our brightest minds, our best hope for defeating this devastating disease," said Zicari II, also a Wilmot Cancer Center board member. "Having help to fund several of these grants and seeing firsthand their impact here in our own backyard, we are inspired to stretch ourselves and give as much as we can."
The gift is designated for cancer research seed grant funding. Since 2002, Nancy & Friends has generously provided the Cancer Center with $462,000 to advance cancer research.