As promised, guests of Rio Carnival enjoyed an evening of fabulous food, fellowship and dancing all in the name of raising funds to assist individuals throughout the state who have cancer and are financially in need. By night’s end, the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation’s inaugural fundraiser generated approximately $600,000 that will assist individuals undergoing cancer treatment, may be unable to work and are struggling to make ends meet.
The FCS Foundation assists qualified patients with non-medical living expenses, such as rent or mortgage, utility, telephone, auto, and/or other pertinent bills. In addition to events such as the Rio Carnival and other fundraising efforts, the FCS Foundation is actively supported by the physicians and employees of Florida Cancer Specialists.
“As a result of the generosity of donors and those attending this spectacular event, the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation increased the amount of money available to patients in need,” said Dr. William Harwin, a board-certified oncologist and hematologist, founder and president of Florida Cancer Specialists. “I am overwhelmed by the heartfelt support of the community.”
The evening began with a welcome reception featuring a silent auction with many exclusive items, a Mount Gay rum fruit signature cocktail and hors d’oeuvres. Attendees then moved into the ballroom which was alive in color from the multi-colored centerpieces. Entertainment included the pulsating tropical carnival review of International Productions by Tahja; Bay Colony resident, Jean Hertzog, and her dance partner, Michael Neil; Gabriella Bodocs Lobello and Johnny Permar with Naples Performing Arts Center; and Billy Dean & Dawn provided high-powered music that kept couples on the dance floor well into the evening. Dinner was expertly prepared by the culinary team at The Ritz Carlton, Naples and included an entrée of Chilean sea bass and a scrumptious South American desert.
Event chair, Jackie Bearse, an advisory board member of the foundation who has been successfully treated for breast and lung cancer, oversaw the planning and execution of every detail for the sold-out event.
“Jackie’s creativity, passion and endless energy are the reasons this inaugural event was so successful,” added Harwin. “Jackie, as well as her committee, is to be commended for her dedication to this cause that is so personal to her.”
Presenting sponsor of the 2014 event was a generous (anonymous) corporate sponsor; gold sponsors included Amgen; Kathy and George Doehner; Omega Office Systems; Oncology Supply, AmerisourceBergen Specialty Group; and Onyx Pharmaceuticals. Silver sponsors included Jackie and Dick Bearse; Boehringer Ingelheim; Classical South Florida; Eisai, Inc.; Jaguar, Range Rover, Land Rover, Audi – Fort Myers; Janssen Biotech, Inc.; Lawrence D. Share Company; Lockton; Medical Protective; Millennium; MSD Oncology; Myriad; Octapharma; Seattle Genetics; Spectrum Pharmaceuticals; SunTrust; and Julia and Bill VanDomelen. Bronze sponsors included Agendia; Luann and J.T. Battenberg; Dendreon; Henry Schein; Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management; Teva Pharmaceuticals; and Willis of Florida. Underwriters included Joan and Bill Carlson, entertainment; Heart & Soul, gift bags; and Joel Greiff, photography.
The Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation provides non-medical living expense assistance to qualified applicants who have cancer by offering short-term financial support to individuals undergoing cancer treatment in the state of Florida. For more information about the foundation and the event, visit http://foundation.flcancer.com or call 855-585-5433. The foundation is located at 4371 Veronica S. Shoemaker Blvd. in Fort Myers. Donations may be made payable to FCS Foundation.