31 years of Hutch Holiday Galas raise more than $54 million for cancer research

SEATTLE — Dec. 10, 2006 — An unprecedented appeal from a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center scientist at the Dec. 9, 2006 Hutch Holiday Gala pushed the cumulative total of funds raised through 31 years of the event to more than $54 million.

The annual black-tie event, which is the Hutchinson Center's largest fund-raiser, launched into its fourth decade with guests donating more than $5 million in a single evening. The Gala took place from 5 p.m. until midnight at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel.

"Help the Hutch," a portion of the live auction during which every dollar donated is matched by a challenge donor, raised more than $3.7 million. Jim Roberts, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Center's Basic Sciences Division and his wife, Pamela Becker, offered up a $1.5 million donation as a challenge gift to benefit a new source of Hutchinson Center pilot-study funding dubbed the Synergy Fund.

"By providing a monetary challenge to our colleagues and guests at the Gala, we hope to stimulate the collaborative spirit and scientific innovation for which the Hutchinson Center is renowned," Roberts said. "The Synergy Fund — as a new resource for pilot studies at the Hutchinson Center — is intended to help compensate for the diminishing availability of similarly earmarked funding from other sources such as the National Institutes of Health."

Mark Groudine, M.D., Ph.D., the Center's deputy director, said the Roberts/Becker challenge marks the first time a faculty member has provided a gift to boost the Gala's fund-raising potential.

"By making a challenge donation, Jim and Pam encouraged the generosity of Gala guests and established an important new resource for our scientists," Groudine said. "Leading-edge cancer research begins with pilot studies, through which we are able to test new ideas. The Synergy Fund will allow us to focus more time and energy on some of our most exciting and promising collaborative pilot-study projects."

Japan-based Sojitz Corporation answered the challenge by contributing the first $500,000 toward the Synergy Fund. Representatives from the company said they made the donation in honor of Sojitz' 50-year trading partnership with The Boeing Company.

Gala patrons also responded with enthusiasm to lavish live-auction packages such as an opportunity to attend fall fashion shows in New York, which sold for $17,000, courtside box seats for U.S. Open women's tennis matches for $20,000 and a travel package via a Boeing delivery flight to China for $35,000. A three-magnum vertical of Sloan Napa Valley red wine sold for $15,000. One lucky guest held the winning raffle ticket for a pair of diamond chandelier earrings valued at $9,185 and donated by Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler.

The evening's festivities included the presentation of the 2006 Distinguished Community Service Award to Larry and Vickie Culver, the managers of the Residence Inn by Marriott — Seattle Downtown/Lake Union, which is adjacent to the Hutchinson Center. The hotel serves as home away from home for many cancer patients and their families. The annual award recognizes those who provide exceptional support in the fight against cancer.

Hosted by the Hutchinson Center's Grace Heffernan Arnold Guild and Hutch Holiday Gala Board of Trustees, the Hutch Holiday Gala featured spectacular live and silent auctions, an elegant dinner and late-night dancing with more than 850 business and community leaders in attendance. To learn more about the Hutch Holiday Gala, call (206) 667-4399 or visit www.hutchgala.com. More information about the Hutchinson Center is available at www.fhcrc.org.

Media Contacts
Christi Ball Loso
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
(206) 667-5215

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. For more information, please visit www.fhcrc.org.