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26th Annual Leukemia Ball Raises $2.75 Million For Fight Against Blood Cancer

March 25, 2013 (Washington, D.C.) - On Saturday, March 23rd, close to 2,000 local business leaders, blood cancer survivors and advocates raised $2.75 million at the 2013 Leukemia Ball, presented by Bio in partnership with Genentech, in support of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) National Capital Area Chapter. Proceeds will benefit LLS and its mission to cure blood cancer and improve the quality of life for patients and their families.

Held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the 2013 Leukemia Ball - themed "Saturday Night Blues" - was emceed by local news personalities Anita Brikman (WUSA9), Laura Evans (WTTG Fox 5), Angie Goff (NBC Washington) and Alison Starling (ABC7/WJLA-TV).

Inside the Grand Ballroom, LLS recognized the Laborer's Charitable Foundation (LIUNA) and The Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) as the 2013 Titans of Business & Philanthropy, for their commitment to making a visible and meaningful difference in their community and industry.  The long-standing efforts of Tamara Darvish, Vice President of DARCARS Automotive Group, were recognized when she received the James L. Eichberg Achievement Award.  Over the past 10 years, Ms. Darvish has helped to raise more than $5 million for LLS through the Bobby Mitchell Hall of Fame Golf Classic, and  will continue her involvement with the organization by chairing a new event next year. Kathy Planthaber, currently battling multiple myeloma, shared her inspirational story and encouraged guests to continue to fund innovative research.

Festivities included performances by comedian Dana Carvey and music by Jim Belushi & The Sacred Heart Band, along with the popular Mercedes-Benz raffle in which two lucky ticket holders won a 2013 GL450 4MATIC (Grand Prize) and a C250 Sport Sedan (First Prize). Both vehicles - on display for guests to view - were donated by Washington area Mercedes-Benz dealers, the Leukemia Ball raffle sponsor for 16 years. Through this donation, close to $400,000 was raised for LLS's mission this year.

"The Leukemia Ball continues to be an amazing event, and has raised $47.5 million for LLS's mission due to the dedicated business leaders and volunteers who help to make it the largest and most successful non-political fundraiser in Washington, DC," said Gabrielle Urquhart, Executive Director of LLS's National Capital Area Chapter. "Their generosity makes our work possible - from funding life-saving blood cancer research to providing educational programs and helping to improve the lives of patients and their families."

Throughout the evening, guests bid on more than 400 world-class silent auction items and packages adorning the area just outside of the Grand Ballroom, such as sports and movie memorabilia, spa and beauty treatments and exotic travel packages with airfare provided by American Airlines, the official airline of the 2013 Leukemia Ball.

"Treatments for blood cancers have come a long way thanks to increased funding for research," said Jim Davis, Senior co-chair and former Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Human Genome Sciences. "As a blood cancer survivor myself, I am living proof of how the dollars raised can help those diagnosed with blood cancer, and I'm proud of what we've achieved over the past two Leukemia Balls. However, every day another 145 people die of blood cancer. Although much has been accomplished, we cannot rest until the cures for all blood cancers are found."

Seventy-eight percent of the funds spent by LLS go directly to research, patient and community services, advocacy and education. Continued funding of cutting-edge science has contributed to an unprecedented rise in survival rates for some blood cancers.  For example, the relative five-year survival rate for people with leukemia has nearly quadrupled over the past 40 years.

"I was honored to work with Jim on the 2013 Leukemia Ball, and KPMG looks forward to leading the charge for the 2014 event on March 22," said Candace Duncan, Leukemia Ball co-chair and Managing  Partner of  KPMG's Washington Metro Area. "The opportunity to help the 19,000 local residents living with blood cancer and help ensure that we find the cures today, is one I, and everyone at KPMG, takes great pride in."

For photos or additional information about the 2013 Leukemia Ball, contact Lisa Iannarino at 703-399-2905.

last updated on Tuesday, March 26, 2013