More than 850 guests took the chill out of Consol Energy Center Thursday as they cheered a different winning team: the doctors, nurses, researchers and staff of UPMC CancerCenter and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.
“Living Courageously: A Future Without Cancer,” the 2013 Hillman Cancer Center Gala, raised an astonishing $4 million, proof that almost everyone has been touched by cancer in some way. This annual event attracts most of Pittsburgh’s heavy hitters, starting with Elsie and Henry Hillman, who served as honorary chairs with Sy Holzer, president of PNC Pittsburgh and chair of the UPCI Council. Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg presented the Hillmans with the Chancellor’s Award for their ongoing philanthropy and leadership. Also honored was Dr. Theresa Nimick-Whiteside, who received the PNC/UPMC Director’s Distinguished Scholar Award.
The evening began with cocktails in the lobby and an upstairs lounge before guests descended onto the covered ice, where a stunning transformation had taken place. A giant stage held the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under the direction of composer Robert Miller, who conducted some of the scores he wrote for UPMC commercials. Gala chairs Christina Cardoso (with Carlos) and Rebecca Cost Snyder welcomed guests along with Dr. Nancy Davidson (with Thomas Kensler), director of UPCI and UPMC CancerCenter, and Dr. Stanley Marks (with Nikol), chairman of UPMC CancerCenter.
The reflection of candlelight on gold-trimmed linens lent a warm glow to the hockey rink during a hearty dinner (complete with Sarris chocolate — thanks, Athena!). Enjoying the elegant evening were UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff with Stefania, board chair Nick Beckwith with Dotty, Dr. Art Levine with Linda Melada, UPMC Foundation head Clyde Jones, Ina and Larry Gumberg. Chip Ganassi, Tim and Audrey Hillman Fisher, Cindy and Murry Gerber, Bill Winkenwerder, Deb Wheeler, Diane and Gerry Holder, Becky and John Surma, Dr. John and Gayle Kirkwood, Fran and Rachel Walton Wymard with Joe and Ellie Wymard, Drs. Julia Bauman and Berndt Schmit, Ann and Marty McGuinn, Jim and Suzy Broadhurst, Alina and Joe Massaro, Cliff and Diane Rowe, Bill Pietragallo, Esther Barazzone, Anne Lewis and Jim Zeszutek, Frank and Debbie Coonelly, Frances and Corky Cost, Merrill and Miroya Stabile, Gregg and Susie Perelman, Bob and Renee Denove, Randy Crawford and Ellen Goodman, Vanessa and David Moorehouse (who sponsored the venue gussied up by UPMC events wizard Pam Douglas) and Pennsylvania first lady Susan Corbett.
Correction, posted Oct. 29, 2013: The spelling of Clint and Karla Hurdle's last name has been corrected.