On Saturday, March 28, 2015, Washington-area business leaders will gather at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to celebrate the 28th annual Leukemia Ball presented by PhRMA. This year, comedian Jim Gaffigan and musician Michael Cavanaugh will perform at this event, dedicated to raising money for lifesaving cancer research and patient programs funded by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
Named the “King of Clean Comedy” by The Wall Street Journal, Georgetown alumnus Jim Gaffigan will entertain guests with an original stand-up routine. The actor, Grammy-nominated comedian and New York Times best-selling author is known for several TV shows and movies, including Away We Go, It’s Kind of a Funny Story and Law & Order. Gaffigan recently appeared in his first Broadway production, That Championship Season, and is currently on a 50-city national tour called “Jim Gaffigan: The White Bread Tour.”
Tony and GRAMMY Award nominee Michael Cavanaugh will enchant crowds with his renowned rock ‘n’ roll sound. Cavanaugh is most famous for his lead role in the Broadway musical Movin’ Out and has toured the country with several symphony orchestras.
The Leukemia Ball, one of D.C.’s largest one-night non-political black-tie events, is expected to raise more than $3.1 million for LLS’s National Capital Area Chapter and will be emceed by ESPN anchor Lindsay Czarniak and MSNBC anchor and national correspondent Craig Melvin. Formerly part of the NBC Washington news team, the couple returns to Washington to continue their longtime support of the LLS mission.
“The Leukemia Ball has directly impacted the lives of blood cancer patients everywhere by helping to fund research and to raise awareness,” said Beth Gorman, National Capital Area Chapter Executive Director. “This year, the Ball will surpass the $50 million fundraising milestone thanks to the relentless support of Washington’s business leaders over the past two decades.”
The 2015 Leukemia Ball is co-chaired by Dan Waetjen, Group President at BB&T Bank, and Ed Offterdinger, Executive Managing Partner at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP. The co-chairs lead an esteemed Executive Committee of more than 60 of the area’s most talented, committed business leaders, who volunteer their time to create a memorable evening and raise millions of dollars in support of LLS’s mission.
“It’s incredible to see D.C.’s most influential companies coming together to support the research and programs offered by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society,” said Waetjen. “I’m looking forward to serving as senior chair for the 2015 Ball, especially after co-chairing such a successful event last year.”
Seventy-eight cents of every dollar spent by LLS funds its mission – to find a cure for blood cancer and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS’s commitment to funding innovative research projects has contributed to an unprecedented rise in survival rates over recent years. For example, today, the five-year survival rate for the most common form of childhood leukemia is more than 90 percent, up from 3 percent in 1964.
“LLS has made tremendous progress, but the fight against blood cancer is not over,” said Offterdinger. “I’m honored to be co-chairing the Leukemia Ball, as it allows LLS to continue the search for safe and effective treatments for all patients.”
The Leukemia Ball is long recognized as one of Washington’s most popular black-tie galas. The silent auction, which raised more than $300,000 in 2014, is one of the area’s largest, featuring a variety of travel packages, including American Airlines air travel to exotic locations. The event also boasts a Mercedes-Benz raffle featuring two brand new vehicles donated by local Mercedes-Benz dealers. Tickets are $100, and only 5,000 tickets are printed.
The event’s popularity over the past two decades is also largely due to the featured entertainment. Past headliners have included Diana Ross, Jay Leno, Dennis Miller, John Mellencamp, Liza Minnelli, Jerry Seinfeld, Reba McIntyre, Jim Belushi, Dan Ackroyd and Lionel Richie.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (R) (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.