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Real Estate Bisnow
May 8, 2008



500 guests came to Mellon Auditorium last night to honor the likes of CBS' Bob Schieffer and the Boston Red Sox at the annual "Rays of Hope" gala for the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. The dinner raised $1.1 million for cancer research, and we were on the scene to cover the buzz.      


Julia Rowland, director of the National Cancer Institute's office of cancer survivorship, with ultimate survivor Lance Armstrong. Lance was in the house last night to pay tribute to NCCS CEO Ellen Stovall for her years of service, and in town to testify today to the Senate Health Committee  on early detection of cancer. He told us he's toying with the idea of a sequel to his book, "It's Not About the Bike," that would be entitled: "Well, Maybe it was About the Bike." Sounds like another bestseller to us.


Lilly Tartikoff, founder of the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (and namesake of the NCCS Lilly Tartikoff Hope Award), Emmy winner Ted Danson, NCCS COO Mike Bergin, and Entertainment Industry Foundation CEO Lisa Paulsen, who received the 2008 Hope Award. Lilly is widow of legendary Brandon Tartikoff, who ran NBC programming in its glory days during the 80s and 90s and died of Hodgkin's Disease at age 48.


Joan Savoy of Miles Perret Cancer Services, former ABC News anchor Sam Donaldson with wife Jan Smith Donaldson, and NCCS board member John Rainey. John, an oncologist, tells us he's working on a project to get federal money for RVs that would be used to bring things like wigs to cancer patients in rural or impoverished locales.


NCCS CEO Ellen Stovall and Bristol-Myers Squibb government affairs senior VP Dick Thompson. Ellen is a 36-year cancer survivor who's beaten it three times. She'll be stepping down at the end of the year after 16 years at the helm, but will remain with NCCS, working with a five-year grant from the CDC to develop cancer-treatment and education programs for underserved populations. She'll be working "part time," which for her means 30 hours per week instead of 60, she says, adding she'll use those extra 30 hours for writing and researching, and at last spending more  time with her family.   


Yes, it's possible to be two places at once.  Last night we were also at the Mandarin Oriental for the Lupus Foundation of America Awards gala.  "Lady Marmalade" Patti LaBelle brought down the house and the Foundation brought in a whopping $1.5 million.

LaBelle stopped by the hotel bar afterwards to chat with her old friend BET co-founder Sheila Johnson. Earlier Johnson received an award, as did Bristol-Myers Squibb EVP Elliott Sigal and Senator Tom Harkin.  Though forced to leave early to return for a long night on Capitol Hill, Harkin had time for a few jokes.  "I'd love to stay and have some wine.  Actually, after what I've been through, I can use some Jack Daniels." (As Chair of the Senate Ag Committee, he insisted this was how he ensured our nation's corn was put to good use.)

If the cards chemicals fall their way, HGS's David Stump and Robert Haynes, with spouses Carolyn and Susan, might be honorees themselves someday.  It's been 40 years since the FDA approved a drug specifically for lupus:  Well, guess what they're working on?  Here's a hint: It ain't acetaminophen.  They're in phase 3 clinical trials on a drug that targets BLyS, a protein that tends to over-act in Lupus cases.  They've finished enrolling over 1600 people with results due in mid-2009.
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