27th Annual Lombardi Gala to Benefit Cancer Research

Posted in News Release

WASHINGTON – The 27th Annual Lombardi Gala, a celebration to benefit Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, will be held Saturday, Nov. 2 from 6 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. at the Washington Hilton.

The black-tie dinner and dance features a cocktail reception and renowned silent auction, a raffle for an all-new 2014 Lexus IS 350 F-Sport and the presentation of two awards to remarkable individuals for their contributions to the fight against cancer. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the Gala will go directly to Georgetown Lombardi for cancer research, education and treatment. In the past 27 years, the Gala events have raised more than $20 million for research at Georgetown.

This year’s honorees include Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who will receive the 2nd annual NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award, and Ellen Terry, who will receive the Margaret L. Hodges Leadership Award.

The NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award was established to honor a leader in the sports industry whose life and family have been touched by cancer, and who encourages cancer research, prevention and treatment through awareness and philanthropy. The connection between the NFL Players Association and Georgetown Lombardi has grown in the past few years, in part out of a shared connection to the legacy of legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi, who was treated for cancer at Georgetown University Hospital before succumbing to the disease in 1970. Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center is named in his memory.

The award reflects a joint commitment between the NFL Players Association and Georgetown Lombardi to honor the spirit of philanthropy.

Fitzgerald has been growing out his trademark dreadlocks since he was a freshman in college in memory of his mother Carol, who passed away after a seven-year battle with breast cancer.

To carry on his mother’s legacy, he helped establish the Carol Fitzgerald Memorial Fund, which supports the causes that his mother held close to her heart, such as the education of urban youth on HIV/AIDS and breast cancer awareness. Every year, the Fitzgerald family hosts events with celebrity guests to help raise money for each of the highlighted causes, and the wide receiver participates in countless community events to raise awareness about cancer and prevention.

“Georgetown Lombardi is one of only 41 cancer centers in the country, and I know from personal experience that not only is it a leader in research, but it is a leader in the personal care of patients and their families,” says DeMaurice F. Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association and honorary chair of the Lombardi Gala for the fourth year. “The NFL Players Association congratulates Larry on this award, and thanks him for his dedication to the fight against cancer.”

“Larry stands out as a wonderful role model and citizen of the NFL,” says Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of Georgetown Lombardi. “He is in a unique position to leverage his success on the field to promote the important causes that he and his family hold dear. On behalf of Georgetown Lombardi, I commend his tireless efforts and look forward to presenting him with this award at our annual Gala.”

The Margaret L. Hodges Leadership Award is named in honor of the Gala’s founder. The award is presented to an outstanding volunteer who has demonstrated sustained commitment to Georgetown Lombardi.

Terry became involved with the Lombardi Gala more than 20 years ago, when she met her beloved friend, Diann Secord Ponchock, sister of Lombardi Gala co-chair Jill Kirkpatrick. The three decided to meet for lunch to strategize on how they could help raise awareness for the Lombardi Gala. All three became deeply involved with Gala planning before each eventually lost an immediate family member to cancer. Diann also died of the disease.

“Ellen’s dedication to fighting cancer through her efforts with the Gala is a significant reason for its huge success,” says Weiner. “I’m delighted to call Ellen a dear friend and we’re all thrilled to have her on our team. We are extremely grateful for her generosity and tireless support over the years.”

Hodges’ daughter, Laurie Hodges Lapeyre, will present the award to Terry.

The 27th Annual Lombardi Gala is possible thanks to countless volunteers, many of whom have taken a leadership role in planning this annual event. In addition to honorary chair DeMaurice Smith, the Gala co-chairs are Brian Katz, Jill Kirkpatrick and Paul Schweitzer. Barbara Schaefer McDuffie of Baker Tilly and Mark O. Decker of BMO Capital Markets are corporate co-chairs. Molly Decker, Wendy Gagnon and Alexandra Senyi de Nagy-Unyom are auction co-chairs. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) served as honorary congressional chair.

Corporate partners of the Gala include the exclusive automotive sponsor, the Washington Area Lexus Dealers, beverage sponsor DIAGEO and premier philanthropists MedStar Health and the NFLPA.

About Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of Georgetown University Medical Center and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, seeks to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cancer through innovative basic and clinical research, patient care, community education and outreach, and the training of cancer specialists of the future. Georgetown Lombardi is one of only 41 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute, and the only one in the Washington, DC, area. For more information, go to http://lombardi.georgetown.edu.

About Georgetown University Medical Center
Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through MedStar Health). GUMC’s mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis — or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing & Health Studies, both nationally ranked; Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute; and the Biomedical Graduate Research Organization (BGRO), which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.