Fred Hutch’s Holiday Gala raises $8.5 million

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo performed at this year’s annual event to raise money for lifesaving research
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo
Iconic singer-songwriter Pat Benatar and musician/collaborator Neil Giraldo performed at Saturday's Hutch Holiday Gala at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel. Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

The 39th annual Hutch Holiday Gala raised $8.6 million Saturday night for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The contributions will help fuel the critical research needed to create better treatments — and cures. 

Iconic singer-songwriter Pat Benatar and musician/collaborator Neil Giraldo performed her hit songs including her classic anthem “Love is a Battlefield” that features the line “We are strong,” a lyric that resonated with many in the room whose lives have been touched by cancer.

Carl and Renée Behnke
Carl and Renée Behnke Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Also during the black-tie event held at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, Fred Hutch Deputy Director Dr. Fred Appelbaum presented Carl Behnke with the E. Donnall Thomas Medal of Achievement. The award honors those who have dedicated their lives to excellence and shown the inspirational vision, dedication and leadership for which Thomas was known.

Behnke has been devoted for decades to supporting Fred Hutch, serving as a chair of the Fred Hutch board of trustees and helping with the formation of Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. This summer he became SCCA’s board chair. Also, earlier this year, Behnke and his wife, Renée, issued a $3 million challenge gift to support the transformation of benchside research into bedside cures.

Incoming President and Director Dr. D. Gary Gilliland also spoke about dedication to expedite cures for patients and their families, as well as his passion for immunotherapy, precision medicine and other outstanding research at Fred Hutch.

“I am looking forward to what is to come,” he said.

Nearly everyone has been affected by cancer in some capacity. At Fred Hutch, researchers are working tirelessly to develop treatments and find cures.

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