The American Cancer Society (ACS) held their Giants of Science gala at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. The evening honors current research grant recipients whose work has been selected by a national committee for commendation and individuals who have turned their private cancer experience into a public learning opportunity and furthered the Society’s attack on cancer from every angle. The ACS is the nation’s largest not-for-profit investor in cancer research, second only to the federal government and currently funds 732 grants for more than $390 million, 95 of those – totaling almost $48 million – in California, including almost $21 million at five Los Angeles County institutions.
Simone I. Smith , honoree of the Devotion Award for her 7-year commitment to the American Cancer Society as a Global Ambassador. She’s a thirteen-year survivor of a rare type of bone cancer called chondrosarcoma. While speaking with her she recalls her thoughts of when she was first diagnosed,
Why me? My grandmother told me, why not you? She said God gave you this for a reason and when you come out of this you will come out victorious.
Smith said that she is happy and healthy and grateful for every day. Going through cancer put things into perspective. Family and health were always important, now they were even more important than ever. She created a jewelry line as a way to creatively support the ACS. Simone’s line, SIS, donates funds from each piece sold to the American Cancer Society.
Natural vs. Synthetic. Creating the right compounds.
The evening involved several doctors that play key roles in the fight against cancer. I was able to speak to Dr. Reisman, a professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology about natural vs. synthetic medications.
She stated that we need both. Natural sources provide scientist with the blueprint of a possible cancer-fighting molecule (drug anatomy) needed for discovering, developing and studying new chemical reactions, thus providing an understanding of how the make up of the drug works against cancer.
It is the goal of her team to understand the makeup of sources found in nature that can be duplicated it in the lab. If this is done successfully, they can increase the potency of the drug.
Cancer improved his mental health.
Tarek El Moussa of HGTV’s Flip or Flop gave insight into his world off the screen. He stated that his health is great, he’s very active, eats a good diet and feels better than ever. His mental health is where he’s made the biggest changes.
Before I had cancer I was a little bit different than I am today. I don’t let the little things bother me as much, I know what’s important in life and am living a good life.
His daughter was 3 when he had cancer and son had not yet been born. Today he openly discusses him having cancer and what it is and how important it is to make sure that we as a family create awareness about it.
Maintain you POWER.
I thought it was a natural fit that Ken Paves would be involved with the American Cancer Society. After all, he has been responsible for making some of Hollywood’s most beautiful manes red carpet ready. Ken also works with women battling breast cancer and has observed them from diagnosis to treatment.
One of the hardest parts of it all is losing your hair. MAINTAIN YOUR POWER. He shared that he advises the ladies battling breast cancer to send him a picture of their best hair day, for which he will make a custom wig from and cut their hair off with family around before it falls out. Take it before cancer can and you’ll keep your power!
For twelve years Paves donated wigs to any woman battling cancer and in need os a wig around the world. Donations reached upward of one million dollars annually!
Staying healthy and cooking with the kids in the kitchen.
Samantha Harris has no choice but to be fit after hosting eight consecutive seasons of Dancing with the Stars! Exercise is incredibly important to her and is one of her main focuses. She stated that if she does not exercise that her productivity is not as efficient. Going to the gym helps her to be more patient with her kids and husband and even more focused while working.
I try to eat a plant-based whole foods diet. I ‘ve also found that I have more energy than I’ve ever had. I grew up on McDonald’s and Burger King and my kids have never been to either. And I’m very proud of that!
She cooks with the kids in the kitchen. They enjoy whole wheat pancakes with mashed bananas and almond milk.
Incredible items for auction.
Andrew Firestone is a long time supporter of American Cancer Society. With several family members that have battled and currently battling cancer, Firestone understands the importance of fundraising for the foundation and celebrating the great minds behind the treatments and finding the cure. Notable items for auction were a stay at Four Seasons at Shanghai, Mikimoto Pearls, and a Luxury Suite at an L.A. Dodgers game for 20!
ABOUT AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, 14 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.