Mountain View, CA, May 26, 2015 – On Saturday, May 16, 450 guests gathered at the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton for El Camino Hospital Foundation's fifth annual Sapphire Soirée. They "sipped for a sapphire," bid spiritedly on live auction items, and enjoyed a rousing performance by Foreigner. The event raised more than $375,000, which will be used to establish a Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Program at El Camino Hospital to promote cancer wellness and early diagnosis through education, research, and testing.
Gala chairs Michelle and Peter Detkin of Los Altos Hills welcomed the crowd. "This event means so much to me because, perhaps like many of you here, cancer has touched the lives of far too many people that I know and love," Michelle explained. "My friends and family who had their cancer detected early all had better outcomes and they are still here with me. I hope the proceeds from tonight can help more people have access to proper screening and education to have more control over their own health."
In her introductory remarks, Dr. Shyamali Singhal, Cancer Center medical director, noted that 30% of cancer is preventable with lifestyle modification, but only if we can clearly identify those at risk. Those who are diagnosed early have much better survival odds. "I hope that with this program we can look to a bright future, where cancer is a preventable disease," she said.
Vicky Nguyen served as mistress of ceremonies and auctioneer Lenny Broberg of the San Francisco Police Department's gang task force, presided over enthusiastic bidding for such items as a Rock n' Roll Fantasy Camp experience, luxurious Exclusive Resorts vacation package, 5.04 carat sapphire ring donated by Darren McClung Estate & Precious Jewelry, and electric guitar autographed by Foreigner with the chance to join the band on stage for the final song. The audience responded generously to the Be a Gem fund-in-need appeal, beginning with two $50,000 donations from members of the Soirée Leadership Circle. San Jose resident Mark Gosling won the "Sip for a Sapphire" pendant, also donated by the McClungs, for his beaming wife Alison Millar.
"The secret to the Cancer Center's success has been philanthropy," Dr. Singhal concluded. "Each time we have needed something to help us get to the next level, El Camino Hospital Foundation has found a way to support us. On behalf of our staff and patients, we thank you."
Now in its fifth year, Sapphire Soirée has raised nearly $2.5 million for the Cancer Center at El Camino Hospital. Proceeds from previous years were used to launch the patient navigation program, build a healing space for holistic healing services, establish outreach programs in high risk breast cancer and melanoma, and develop a dedicated survivorship program.