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Winter 2001/2002 Volume 4, Issue 8:
A Celebration for the Cure!
By The Unknown Patient
IMF Ribbon of Hope - Making a World of Difference Gala 2001
01.29.02

When the Unknown Patient read the list of honorees for the IMF Ribbon of Hope - Making a World of Difference Cirque de la Vie gala, he knew he had to brave the post-9/11 airport chaos and get himself and his unknown tuxedo out to Los Angeles. The honorees at this year's gala have truly made a difference in the battle against myeloma and the gala was a wonderful opportunity to thank them.

Cirque de la Vie

Once safe and comfortable in his very nice hotel room in Los Angeles, the Unknown Patient went down to check on the preparations for the IMF gala. A quick walkabout confirmed the diligence of auction chair Carol Klein and her dedicated volunteers, working to showcase the items so generously donated to benefit the IMF and its good works. Dinner chairs Sheila Field and Ruth Gilliam were seen tending to the myriad of last minute details, trying to maintain calm as chaos threatened. It was really gratifying to see the many volunteers working so hard to make the gala very special.

Eddie, Sheila and Trudy Field with Mary Lou and Clyde Porter

The Unknown Patient was pleased to see Carol Troup with good friend Robin Leach, the evening's emcee. Robin graciously donated his services at last year's gala and again this year. Carol's husband Brian lost his battle with myeloma last fall. Carol and Robin remain committed to the battle against myeloma, and we are most grateful for their continued dedication and support.

Robin Leach with Mary McGovern of Ortho Biotech

Dinner honorees and other speakers began to stream in for their rehearsal, which proved more dramatic than planned when Unknown glitches in the audio system threatened to blow out their eardrums and the teleprompter crew was missing in action, having gone to another hotel with the same name some sixty miles away. After some fits and starts, things got back on track and the Unknown Patient decided to sneak off for some quiet time before the big night.

Guest of Honor, Michael S. Katz,with wife,
Susan, and sons Jonathan, Jason, and Jeffrey

After napping, the Unknown Patient and spouse helped each other into their formal duds and went up to the VIP reception. Catching a glimpse via an ornate mirror, the Unknown Patient was glad to see Mike Katz with his lovely wife Susan and their three now very grown up sons, Jason, Jeffrey and Jonathan. The Unknown Patient feels a strong kinship with Mike, owing to their strikingly similar situations and their dedication to helping the IMF and their fellow patients. Mike has worked as a volunteer for the IMF for over eight years, having gotten involved at the same time as the Unknown Patient. Working the room, Mike and the Unknown Patient spoke with Mary Lou and Clyde Porter, thanking them for their good work with the Los Angeles Support Group and the Circle of Friends, which has funded a number of research grants over the past few years. Mike and his Unknown alter-ego also got a chance to thank dinner chairs Sheila Field and Ruth Gilliam, both a bit tired but looking absolutely fabulous in their evening gowns, tastefully accessorized. Then came a few words, delivered by IMF President Susie Novis and Chairman Brian Durie. This was followed by a surprise presentation by Stephanie Colman of the IMF...an award on behalf of the Philadelphia support group to honoree Mike Katz. The group soon got back to the serious business of consuming beverages, snacking, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Chatting up a storm, Mike and the Unknown Patient seemed inseparable until it was time to go downstairs for the silent auction.

There was no stopping
Ronnie Abrams
at the Gala's live auction!
Ethel and Herman Adler
take a spin on the dance floor.

While buzzing from table to table, depositing bids here and there, the Unknown Patient was very pleased to meet two scientists from Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Julian Adams and Michael Kauffman, the brains behind PS-341, the new proteosome inhibitor in clinical trials as a promising new treatment for myeloma. While the role of PS-341 remains Unknown, the early results are very exciting and the Unknown Patient has high hopes that this new drug will be a great leap forward. The Unknown Patient thanked the dynamic duo for their good work and wished them well as they work towards approval of this new treatment.

Courage Award recipient Rudolf Brutoco
with family and friends, including IMF Director Mike Bell

The dinner brought with it an array of speakers, including Dinner co-chair Sheila Field. Sheila shared some of her experience as a patient with the group and introduced a number of the awardees. This year's Courage Award went to Dr. Rudolf Brutoco, who founded the LifeSaver Foundation, now part of the National Marrow Donor Program. Some years ago, Dr. Brutoco's wife had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia that required a bone marrow transplant. Finding herself without a suitable sibling donor, Rudy stepped up to found an organization dedicated to finding bone marrow donors and matching them up with people who needed transplants.

Carol and Benson Klein
Lyman and Nancy Ostlund

Ribbon of Hope Awards were presented to Dr. James Bianco, CEO of Cell Therapeutics, and Drs. Julian Adams and Michael Kauffman of Millennium Pharmaceuticals. Dr. Bianco is conducting trials of the drug Trisenox (arsenic trioxide) as a new treatment for myeloma. Drs. Adams and Kauffman are working on PS-341 proteosome inhibitor. The Unknown Patient is truly encouraged by the work of these talented and dedicated scientists to bring new drugs to market for myeloma patients. With each new drug comes the promise of more options and a better, longer, life.

Robin Leach with Quality of Life Award recipient William Pearson
and IMF supporters from Ortho Biotech

The Quality of Life Award went to William Pearson, of Ortho Biotech. Bill has had a lead role in marketing Procrit®, a drug which has made an incredible difference for so many myeloma patients, helping to restore normal blood counts and make it possible to battle the fatigue that often comes with active disease and/or treatment and to regain the energy it takes to live the good life. We salute Bill and Ortho Biotech for their efforts and thank them on behalf of myeloma patients around the world.

Ribbon of Hope Award recipient James Bianco
with myeloma survivor Andre Boyce,
IMF Scientific Advisor James Berenson,
colleagues from Cell Therapeutics, Inc., family and friends.

The evening's last award went to the guest of honor, Mike Katz, who was introduced by a sincerely appreciative Susie Novis, who recounted a long list of Mike's accomplishments on behalf of the IMF and myeloma patients all over the globe. Mike's remarks suggested that he had gotten more than he'd given, thanking IMF founders Susie Novis, Brian Novis and Brian Durie for their wonderful contributions and sacrifices.

Ribbon of Hope Award recipient s Michael Kaufman,
Julian Adams at the Millennium Pharmaceuticals table.

Dinner, a lively auction led by the effervescent and indefatigable Robin Leach, and entertainment befitting the evening's "Cirque de la vie" (Circus of Life) theme led into leisurely post-gala musings with old and new friends. And, before the Unknown Patient could catch his breath, it was time to hustle back to the room and pack for the early morning flight back home.

Janet and Art Johnson and family.

Good friends old and new. Dinner and dancing. Lots of money raised to support the IMF. All in all, a good weekend for the Unknown Patient and the IMFers who joined him. Bravo to all of the honorees, to our generous donors, our hard working volunteers and the dedicated staff who made this all possible. And, a special thank you to the Unknown Spouse for being courageous enough to make the cross country trek in these difficult times.


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