Global Cancer-Fighting Brain Trust Rocks Wall Street

Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real

Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation raises $6 million for liberation from cancer.

The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation hosted its 22nd annual benefit dinner and auction featuring Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real (Lukas is the son of Willie Nelson and an independent musical force who’s band is also Neil Young’s backing band). Approximately $6 million was raised to support cancer research while the country-rock quintet raised the roof at Cipriani Wall Street. Cipriani Wall Street is a powering triumph of Greek revival architecture and one heck of a place to enjoy a fantastic band—and a great cause, the ultimate red carpet for cancer survivors. It’s all about finding cancer before it finds you.

The foundation presented awards to event honorees Kobi Halperin, Valery Joseph, and Marc Taub. The main focus of this annual event is supporting cutting-edge cancer research—Dr. Samuel Waxman handily redefining the concept of Collaborating for a Cure by traveling the country and the world to expand his global brain trust. Entertainment aside, the energy in this epic auditorium bustling with some of New York’s most influential finance and medical heavy-hitters was not about being seen, but more about supporting a visionary cancer specialist and founder and CEO of Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation. Waxman, a disarming dream-come-true maker, who while mixing affably with everyone, also introduced me to some of his patients who have overcome the odds to beat cancer and continue to thrive.

Q. (for Waxman) “What’s the latest breaking news in cancer?”

A. (Waxman) “Cancer is a disease of aging. The longer you live, the better chance you have of getting it. We have to change that and secure the next generation by understanding why.”

Waxman’s vision: Imagine a world in which cancer can be treated without disrupting life, can be cured, or can even be prevented. Known affectionately by New Yorkers as “The Waxman,” the yearly gala is considered to be among the top fundraising events in New York City. Waxman’s laboratory is at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

The fundraiser’s brainchild is Long Island native Michael Nierenberg, a philanthropist who is Chairman of the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation.Nierenberg, a CW Post graduate, investment guru, and classic rocker also had his fingerprint on the event’s soundtrack before the live performance. Nierenberg noted that annual gala continues to “Further consolidate the live auction by raising money in advance—and keeping the event fun.”

Once again, CBS News anchor Chris Wragge was the Master of Ceremony while auction donations and bids were received via texts and raised hands. The live auction, led by ever-humorous Hugh Hildesley, Executive Vice President of Sotheby’s Auction House, offered guests the opportunity to bid on many dandy items including a puppy (winning bid of $10,000).

The event was attended by Waxman Foundation board members and 1,200 corporate executives and their guests. The money raised will support the Foundation’s research efforts to produce a cure for cancer by reprogramming cancer cells and to deliver tailored, minimally toxic treatments to patients. The scientists funded have made significant breakthroughs in cancer research, including identifying pathways to deliver novel therapies to treat cancer.

Check out the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation—and Collaborating for A Cure.

The prior year’s musical guest was Dawes. Past celebrity supporters have included The Avett Brothers, Roger Daltry, John Fogerty, Ziggy Marley, Train, the Warren Haynes Band, Kid Rock, Chevy Chase, Steely Dan, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, Sheryl Crow, and Counting Crows.