Gala attracts record $1.6 million in community support for cancer research and patient care

The UC Irvine Health gala, "Healers & Heroes," raised a record $1.6 million to support cancer research and treatment, including more than $530,000 for an intraoperative radiation therapy device that has the potential to dramatically reduce breast cancer treatment and recovery times for many patients.

More than 500 people attended the celebration of healers and heroes associated with Orange County’s only comprehensive cancer center, held April 26 at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in Anaheim.

“UC Irvine Health is fortunate to belong to a community that is dedicated to making advanced care for the most challenging and complex medical conditions available to all patients,” said Terry A. Belmont, CEO of UC Irvine Medical Center. “The overwhelming generosity of this year’s gala attendees will go a long way toward changing what it means to be diagnosed with cancer in Orange County.”

UC Irvine Health CEO Terry Belmont presents the leadership award to philanthropist Michael Hayde at the 2014 UC Irvine Health gala, Healers & Heroes.

Belmont, the event’s host, presented the UC Irvine Health CEO Leadership Award to Western National Group CEO Michael K. Hayde for his philanthropic support of pioneering cancer research and patient care.

Jeralyn Glass, a longtime Hayde friend and internationally recognized soprano, performed a musical tribute to the honoree.

Guests closed the evening with dancing to the music of JT & Friends – the band formed by UC Irvine philanthropist and drummer John Tu, co-founder of Kingston Technology.

The intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) device funded by the community will make the UC Irvine Health the first cancer center in California to offer the Margin Probe intraoperative assessment tool in combination with IORT for the treatment of breast cancer. Margin Probe provides data on tissue surrounding a tumor to help a surgeon immediately assess whether all cancer cells were removed during surgery, with the goal of reducing the need for subsequent surgeries. The new IORT device will deliver radiation during surgery in a single, concentrated dose, often as an alternative to longer courses of post-surgery radiation.

Jeff and Nancy Stack and David and Sandy Stone served as honorary co-chairs of the critically and financially successful gala. Major sponsors included Abbott Medical Optics, Arbonne International LLC, Allen and Lee Chao, Richard and June Chao, the Hsia family, and Mary and John Tu.