A record $550,000 was raised by members of the community
Edited by: JV Staff
A gathering of the most distinguished and charitable residents of the Deal, New Jersey, community turned out last week to honor the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) at its annual “Evening of Inspiration.’’ A record $550,000 was raised at the event for cancer research in Israel.
Lisa Oved, Samantha Harary, Ariela Ben Dayan and Charles Ben Dayan served as the evening’s chairpersons. Harry Adjmi galvanized the crowd as Master of Ceremonies.
According to Adjmi, “ICRF is saving the world by supporting the top researchers in Israel who are working to find a cure for cancer. “ He thanked the guests for their staunch support of the organization for the past 12 years and gave a special nod to Charles Ben Dayan for introducing the important work of ICRF to the Deal community.
Special highlights of the benefit included an inspirational address by Dr. Gerald Soff, Chief of Hematology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. A veteran supporter of ICRF who served for three years on the ICRF Scientific Review Panel, Dr. Soff treats patients suffering from blood diseases and varying types of blood cancer.
A number of years ago after suffering from extreme fatigue, Dr. Soff ordered a panel of routine blood tests and learned he had multiple myeloma, a deadly form of bone marrow cancer. When he was in medical training 30 years ago, patients suffering from multiple myeloma faced a life expectancy of two years. Thanks to a scientific breakthrough from two ICRF-funded scientists—-Dr. Avram Hershko and Dr. Aaron Ciechanover—-for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (2003), Dr. Soff was successfully treated with a novel drug that was based on Hershko and Ciechanover ‘s research). This drug later led to the development of other drugs that now offer patients with multiple myeloma the possibility of a high quality of life and prolonged survival.
Dr. Soff emphasized that, “I am alive because of the research supported by ICRF. He went on to say that, “The research of Israeli scientists is second to none. Every penny you contribute to ICRF will be put to top-tier research.”
The evening culminated in a fashion show with local models featuring Christian Siriano, an American fashion designer known for his “whimsical and show-stopping designs, from fantasy evening gowns and cocktail dresses to tailored sportswear, intricately detailed shoes and accessories. Siriano’s collections are featured in upscale department stores and boutiques around the world.
The Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) was founded in 1977 by a group of American and Canadian physicians, scientists and lay leaders who sought to prevent the permanent loss of Israel’s most promising cancer researchers to foreign universities due to the lack of funding in Israel for Ph.D.s, post-doctoral fellows and accomplished young scientists. Since its founding, the organization has awarded 2,426 grants to Israeli cancer researchers via fellowships, project grants, career development awards and professorships. With the grants for 2018/19, ICRF’s funding has now surpassed the $68 million mark!
ICRF grants are selected after an intensive peer review by a distinguished Scientific Review Panel (SRP) composed of leading physicians and scientists from the U.S. and Canada. Modeled after the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Review process, the SRP bases its selection criteria on the scientific merit of the project, the demonstrated ability of the investigators and the suitability of the institutions in which they work. The efforts of Israeli cancer researchers have contributed to some of the most significant cancer breakthroughs of recent years and have resulted in collaborations with major international cancer organizations, including City of Hope and the Cancer Research Institute.
“Cancer research has never been more exciting or promising and that is particularly true in Israel,” noted Dr. Mark Israel, National Executive Director of ICRF. “Israeli science knows no bounds. ICRF provides a singular opportunity to help build more recognition and support for the world-class cancer research of Israeli scientists, and to arm and empower its finest practitioners with the resources necessary to change the world.”
According to Dr. Israel, the money raised from the Deal community last year was utilized to fund more than ten new projects that will help to transform the face of cancer.
ICRF President Rob Densen summarized the evening remarking that, “The annual support that ICRF receives from the Deal community is a key engine driving our efforts to enhance the work of Israel’s most accomplished scientists. We are so grateful and humbled by their commitment to Tikkun Olam.”
Others who attended the ICRF fundraiser in Deal included such prominent individuals as Domenick Cama, President and Chief Operating Officer, INVESTORS BANCORP, Ralph Herzka, Chairman and CEO, Meridian Capital Group, Dr Alexander Swistel, Sloan Kettering, Dr. Patricia Myskowski, Sloan Kettering, Dr. Jonathan Sussman, Columbia, Dr Arthur Schwartzbard, NYU and Dr. Nelly Huppert, NYU.
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