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Sapphire Soirée Raises Funds to Establish New Cancer Survivorship Program

Last Updated 7/7/2014 5:23:17 PM

Four hundred seventy friends of El Camino Hospital and the Foundation gathered at the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton on May 31 for the fourth annual Sapphire Soirée, a gala benefit for the Cancer Center. They "sipped for a sapphire" for the chance to win a pair of pink sapphire earrings donated by Darren McClung Estate & Precious Jewelry, bid spiritedly on live auction items, and enjoyed an exciting performance by Canadian rock band Barenaked Ladies. The event raised nearly $600,000, which will be used to establish a cancer survivorship program.

Click the photo for a larger view or view more photos from the event.

"We are here tonight to celebrate the Cancer Center’s accomplishments and its hopes for the future," El Camino Hospital CEO Tomi Ryba told the guests, as she noted its accreditation last year, a 33% growth in new cancer cases over five years, and exceptional five-year survival results. "We cannot do this work alone. Thank you for your wonderful support."

The event was co-chaired by Sandra and Doug Bergeron and Katie and Greg Morganroth, MD of Atherton. Honorary Chairs Pamela and Edward Taft donated a $250,000 challenge gift in honor of Pamela’s mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year at the age of 82. "In past years, our challenge gifts to the Cancer Center have been about supporting the great work of the doctors and about helping our friends, our neighbors, and our community," the Los Altos Hills resident told the assembled crowd. "This year, it is more personal."

Carolyn Johnson served as mistress of ceremonies and auctioneer Lenny Broberg, of the San Francisco Police Department's gang task force, presided over enthusiastic bidding for such items as a weeklong stay in an ocean view, penthouse condominium in Cancun, Mexico, a 3.98 sapphire ring donated by Darren McClung Estate & Precious Jewelry, a Paris shopping excursion, and an electric guitar autographed by Barenaked Ladies. The audience more than rose to the Tafts' challenge, beginning with a $50,000 matching gift from an anonymous donor.

Now in its fourth year, Sapphire Soirée has raised over $2 million for the Cancer Center at El Camino Hospital. Proceeds from previous years were used to establish the patient navigation program and a dedicated melanoma program, to support the High Risk Breast Program, and to develop the soon-to-be-built healing space.

View photos of the event.

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