Actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise was honored with the “True Grit” Humanitarian Award and Maggie DiNome, MD, FACS, director, Cancer Prevention Program and chief of general surgery at Providence Saint John’s Health Center was presented with “The Duke” Special Service Award at the 30th annual Odyssey Ball. The yearly fundraising event benefits the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center and is organized by the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary led by co-chairs Martha Harper, Colleen Pennell, Elizabeth Rawjee and Jessica Royer. Actor, motivational speaker, author and honored US Army veteran J.R. Martinez hosted the “We Can All Be Heroes” themed gala.
More than $1.4 million was raised at the 30th annual John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary Odyssey Ball thanks to the generous gifts from Providence Health & Services, the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson and Mrs. Martin Weil.
Patrick Wayne, chairman of the John Wayne Cancer Institute and son of the actor, described the family’s vow in forming the Institute, “To end cancer; we knew it wouldn’t happen overnight, but when you pin your ambitions on the name ‘John Wayne,’ you know that nothing but an absolute victory is acceptable.” He also took a moment to recognize two key additions to the Institute’s team, newly named chief executive, Marcel Loh and Dr. Timothy Wilson, a renowned specialist in the field of prostate cancer.
Since 1981, the family of John Wayne has been committed to pioneering cancer research in memory of their father, who died of cancer. For more than 30 years, the dedicated researchers at the John Wayne Cancer Institute have made groundbreaking discoveries that have changed the way cancer is detected, diagnosed and treated around the world. The Institute’s programs focus on melanoma, breast, neuro, prostate and gastrointestinal cancers, as well as innovative research in cancer genomics, molecular biomarkers, and chemo- and immunotherapies.