Thursday, May 12, 2022 (New York, NY) – On May 12, The Skin Cancer Foundation held its annual Gala at The Plaza in New York City. The Champions for Change Gala is the Foundation’s signature fundraising event. The event raised $625,000 in support of the organization’s educational campaigns, community programs and research initiatives.
More than 300 guests attended the event, including Skin Cancer Foundation donors, industry and physician allies, celebrity supporters and members of the media. Actor Taye Diggs attended the event.
After a cocktail reception in The Plaza’s Terrace Room, guests were ushered into the Grand Ballroom for the seated dinner and formal program. New York comedian Wali Collins emceed the event and kept guests laughing as he introduced the night’s speakers and performers.
Skin Cancer Foundation President Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, took the stage to talk about the Foundation’s work and the dedication of its members, staff and supporters throughout the pandemic.
“The Skin Cancer Foundation has certainly been through a lot in our 43 years, but nothing compares to the past two years,” Dr. Sarnoff told the audience. “The pandemic tested our organization in so many ways, and I could not be prouder of how we came through it. We figured out how to safely get our mobile skin cancer screening program back on the road. We developed new digital awareness campaigns and education materials. We answered questions from terrified skin cancer patients and guided them to appropriate resources. And we accomplished all of this while most of our staff was working from home. Our goal was to continue to serve the people who needed us and come out on the other side in a position of strength. And that’s exactly what we did. Tonight is about celebrating our strength as a community and your generosity.”
Ariel Ostad, MD, one of the event’s physician co-chairs alongside Jesse M. Lewin, MD, presented the Champion for Change Award in recognition of this generosity, honoring the dermatologists who have volunteered their time to the Foundation’s Destination Healthy Skin program.
“Last year, for the first time, I volunteered for a Destination Healthy Skin event here in New York,” said Dr. Ostad, who identified two suspected melanomas during his shift. “I’m so happy I got involved in this program, and I really respect the people who do it year after year.”
The award took the form of a plaque listing the names of all 157 volunteers, which will hang in the Destination Healthy Skin RV for all to see as the RV heads out for a four-month tour around the country. Volunteers present at the Gala were asked to stand and be recognized for collectively donating about 1,000 hours of their time to perform nearly 5,000 screenings over four years of Destination Healthy Skin events. Click here for a complete list of honorees.
Other highlights of the evening included performances by Season 19 winner of NBC’s The Voice, Carter Rubin. He performed his new single, “Horoscope,” and teamed up with his grandfather Ric Mango (Jay & The Americans) for a surprise duet of “I’ll be there,” originally by the Jackson 5. Auctioneer Harry Santa-Olalla lead a Fund the Mission pledge drive and created a friendly competition, offering a bottle of champagne to the first table to donate.
The Gala was chaired by Susan Manber, Ophelia and Bill Rudin, and Stephanie and Adam Schweitzer. Ariel Ostad, MD, and Jesse M. Lewin, MD, served as Physician Co-chairs, while the Honorary Chair was Marcia Robbins-Wilf, EdD. The Gala Committee included Jeremy Brauer, MD; Kim Campbell; Jennifer and Joseph A. Dussich; Elizabeth K. Hale, MD; Jacqueline Flam; April Franzino; Adele Haimovic, MD; Julie K. Karen, MD; Celine Mactaggart; Kim Nichols, MD; Maral Skelsey, MD; Mary L. Stevenson, MD; Shelley N. Tanner and Brian Underwood.
Event sponsors included DermTech, L’Oréal Dermatological Beauty, and Regeneron and Sanofi.
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About The Skin Cancer Foundation
The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. Since its inception in 1979, the Foundation has recommended following a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade and covering up with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use. For more information, visit SkinCancer.org.
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