29th Annual Lombardi Gala to Benefit Cancer Research

Posted in News Release

WASHINGTON (Oct. 14, 2015)—The 29th Annual Lombardi Gala, a celebration to benefit Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (new window), will be held Saturday, Oct. 24, from 6:00 to 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 a new 2015 Lexus RC 350 F Sport and the presentation of two awards to remarkable advocates for their contributions in 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. The annual event has raised $22 million for Georgetown Lombardi since its inception.

This year’s awards recipients are Defensive Tackle Devon Still, who will receive the annual NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award, and Washington Area Lexus Dealers, who will receive the Margaret L. Hodges Leadership Award.

The NFL Players Association Georgetown Lombardi Award (new window) 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 (new window) and Georgetown Lombardi has grown 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.

Still’s five-year-old daughter, Leah, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2014.

“I have used my platform to raise awareness of cancer because I want to make sure that fighters like Leah know they are not fighting alone,” says Devon. “It’s been encouraging to see so many people take up my mission and support those fighting this disease. I’m proud to accept this award from the NFLPA and Georgetown Lombardi and join a larger community working toward a day without cancer.”  

“After his daughter’s diagnosis, Devon put aside his own fear and became a tireless advocate for the millions of other people battling cancer. By creating positivity out of adversity, he embodies the qualities of a true leader,” says Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of Georgetown Lombardi. ”He is not only an incredible father and role model to Leah, but a shining example of the differences people can make when they use their voices to speak out forothers.”

DeMaurice F. Smith (new window), executive director of the NFL Players Association, is serving as the honorary chair of the Lombardi Gala for the sixth year.

“The NFL Players Association congratulates Devon on this award. Not only is he fighting a personal battle alongside his daughter, Leah, but he is using his influence to garner support for cancer research. I’m proud to recognize Devon and Leah’s bravery and leadership,” says NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.

The 2015 Margaret L. Hodges Leadership Award will be presented to four Washington Area Lexus Dealers including Lindsay Lexus of Alexandria, Lexus of Rockville, Lexus of Silver Spring and Pohanka Lexus of Chantilly. The area dealers  became the exclusive automotive sponsor 12 years ago, and have been donating a new car for the Gala raffle since the 18th Annual Lombardi Gala in 2003.

“We chose to partner with Georgetown Lombardi because we truly believe in their work and mission. In my opinion, the biggest champions are the ones who are so giving of their time – it’s the one commodity that cannot be replaced. I believe I speak for all of us when I say we are very humbled to receive this award,” says Jeff Warner, general manager of Lindsay Lexus of Alexandria.

The 29th 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, Mark O. Decker of BMO Capital Markets and Blake Cogbill of AIG Annuities are corporate executive committee co-chairs. Molly Decker, Wendy Gagnon and Alexandra Senyi de Nagy-Unyom are auction co-chairs. Tickets are on sale (new window) through Friday, October 16.

Corporate partners of the Gala include Exclusive Automotive Sponsor, the Washington Area Lexus Dealers; Beverage Sponsor, DIAGEO; and Premier Sponsors BMO Capital Markets, Blake and Allison Cogbill, Laurie and Pierre Lapeyre, Medstar Health, NFL Players Association, S&R Foundation and Winston & Strawn, LLP. 

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 45 comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, as designated by the National Cancer Institute (grant #P30 CA051008), 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 (GUMC) 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, which accounts for the majority of externally funded research at GUMC including a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health.