International Cancer-Fighting Team Captain—Dr. Waxman—Finds Cancer Before It Finds You

Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit with guest Warren Haynes

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

The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation hosted its 24th annual benefit dinner and auction featuring musical luminary Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit with guest guitarist Warren Haynes. More than $6 million was raised to support groundbreaking global cancer research while the band raised the roof at Cipriani Wall Street, a towering triumph of Greek revival architecture. This great cause, the Collaborating for a Cure Gala, aptly themed Together Again, was also the ultimate red carpet for cancer survivors.

Making a difference in cancer treatments is in the DNA of this foundation that presented its first-ever Breakthrough Science Award to Dr. Kevan Shokat, from the University of San Francisco. Dr. Shokat, who is an SWCRF-funded investigator, recently discovered a new compound that effectively shuts off one of the most common cancer-causing genetic mutations. As a result, a new FDA-approved medication is now available that shrinks lung, colorectal, and pancreatic cancer tumors by 50 percent with remarkably low toxicity. Also, the Fashion Cares Award went to Debra S. Waller, Chairman and CEO of Jockey International and

The main focus of this annual event is supporting cutting-edge cancer research—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 this visionary cancer specialist. 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 do you mean by redefining impossible?

A. (Waxman) “Redefining impossible as in previously unimaginable cancer treatment breakthroughs, including the one by Dr. Shokat, that are real gamechangers. This is a perfect example of why we do what we do—fund leading scientists, encourage collaboration, and find new treatments for cancer that will save lives.”

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 chairs this foundation. Nierenberg, a CW Post graduate, investment guru, and progressive rocker, also has his fingerprints all over the event’s soundtrack—both live and recorded. Nierenberg noted that the 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 raised paddles and texts. The live auction 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 1,100 corporate executives and their guests.

Ps, Cancer is a disease of aging. The longer you live, the better chance you have of getting it. Waxman and his colleagues insist on changing that and securing the next generation by understanding why.

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

The prior year’s musical guest was Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. Past celebrity supporters have included Dawes, 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.