Debbie’s Dream Foundation (DDF) will host its second annual Dream Makers Gala on Friday, May 6, 2011 at The Westin Beach Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale. The event benefits DDF which was founded by Debbie Zelman to raise awareness of stomach cancer and increase funding for research for this difficult-to-treat disease. Zelman, a Davie resident, was diagnosed in 2008 at the age of forty with advanced stomach cancer and founded DDF in 2009.
“My dream is that we will learn enough about this disease to find it early, or even prevent it,” Zelman says. “We want our Gala to continue to be a wonderful celebration of life but also a way to raise funds to make this dream a reality.”
Last year’s inaugural event raised $140,000. The 2011 Gala co-chairs, Jennifer andStuart Kapp and Debi and Jason Chalik, are hoping to surpass that total this year by encouraging more people to attend and obtaining additional sponsorships. Sponsors for this year’s Gala include Title Sponsor Proskauer, and Gold Sponsors Sheridan HealthCare, and Newport Beachside Hotel and Resort.
“We are thrilled by the support we are receiving for this event and expect it to be a huge success. This money will go to encourage much needed research for stomach cancer,” Jennifer Kapp said. “By joining us, you will have a wonderful evening and make a real contribution to a very important cause.”
The evening will begin at 7:00 pm with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a silent auction, followed by dinner, dancing, and an exciting live auction featuring a one week stay in a picturesque four bedroom mountain home in North Carolina, a catered cocktail party for up to one hundred people and several other priceless items. The program also includes award presentations and remarks from several world renowned guest speakers. This year’s award recipients are: Kathleen Wesa, MD, Assisting Attending Physician of the Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; Julie and Jeffrey Cornfeld and Susanne and Steven Hurowitz of the Newport Beachside Hotel & Resort; Libia Scheller, PhD, Medical Director of the Institute for Medical Education and Research; Madelyn Zelman, M.Ed.; and Duree Ross, President of Duree & Company.
Following the awards ceremony, guests will have the opportunity to hear brief remarks from Dr. Kathleen Wesa who will discuss the role of integrative medicine in cancer treatment, and #1 New York Times best-selling author Brad Meltzer.
Debbie Zelman was forty years old, the wife of a physician, mother of three young children and owner of her own law firm when she was diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer. In the course of searching for effective treatment options, she quickly learned how difficult this disease is to detect and treat, and that the prognosis is often grim. She decided to begin Debbie’s Dream Foundation to raise awareness of the disease and encourage research into the causes of and cures for stomach cancer. In its first two years, DDF has become a strong voice in South Florida for stomach cancer research and is emerging as a national leader in raisingawareness and providing patient services for this under-recognized and under-funded disease.
Over 22,000 Americans are diagnosedannually with stomach cancer and 10,000 die of the disease. Worldwide, stomach cancer is the fourth most common cancer and the second greatest cancer killer and is very prevalent in many parts of Asia and South America. Research is yielding important information about the role of diet and genetics in stomach cancer, but much remains to be done to improve the treatment and outcomes for this disease.
DDF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity. For more information, visit www.debbiesdream.org.