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American Cancer Society’s 2019 Celebration Gala, Featuring Kentucky Derby Theme “Race for Research,” Raised $350,000 Net at Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, May 4

By May 21, 2019No Comments

Event Once Again Presented by The Salah Foundation


500 guests joined in the fight against cancer during the 2019 American Cancer Society’s Celebration Gala Presented by The Salah Foundation held at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa on May 4, 2019. This year’s gala raised a critical $350,000 net, bringing the cumulative total to over $1 million in three short years.


This year’s event coincided with the excitement of the Kentucky Derby and was themed “Race for Research”. The one-of-a-kind evening featured a cocktail hour in which guests could watch the Kentucky Derby in real time on a large screen. Guests were then ushered into a beautifully decorated, grand ballroom to enjoy a dinner reception, silent and live auctions, dancing and more.


The American Cancer Society was honored to, once again, have The Salah Foundation on board as the event’s Presenting Sponsor and champion in the fight against cancer. The Salah Foundation’s family philosophy has always been that one cannot take from this world without giving back. 2019 marked the third consecutive year that The Salah Foundation served as the Presenting Sponsor of the Celebration Gala lead by Executive Director, Noreen Salah Burpee.


This year’s honorees were City Furniture President Keith Koenig and his wife Kelly Koenig ― longtime supporters in the fight against cancer. Noreen Salah Burpee of The Salah Foundation was graciously awarded with the Inaugural American Cancer Society Celebration Gala Legacy Impact Award which identifies, supports and celebrates an extraordinary individual in the local community for their inspiration, dedication and significant national contributions to the advancement of unmet needs in the not for profit space.


Maureen G. Mann was presented with the prestigious St. George National Award in honor of her distinguished service in achieving the American Cancer Society’s strategic goals, her expansive community presence and her willingness to continue to serve. Michael Wild was honored as the American Cancer Society’s National Advisor of the Year for his dedicated work in helping to garner over $8 million of charitable giving.


Survivor Speaker Lori Samuels shared her touching story of her battle with cancer and her life today. Dale McLean, in-arena host for the Miami Heat; and auctioneer Joe Girvan served as the event’s hosts.


For the third consecutive year, the event’s chairperson was Lori Castle while the American Cancer Society’s 2018 South Palm Beach Ambassadors, Peter and LoriAnn Gary served as the event’s co-chairs.


“One in three people will be diagnosed in their lifetime,” said Noreen Salah Burpee of The Salah Foundation, Presenting Sponsor for the Gala. “We need to fund research to ensure our children, and our children’s children can live in a world that is cancer free.”


Members of the event’s Executive Committee were Stephanie Aragon; Ellen Crane; Daren Cronin; Eugene Dorfman; Heather Frantz; Deana Koenig; Lindsay Kunca; Heather McQuigg; Ilana Muransky; Anna Noriega; Jenna Reed; Durée Ross; Elaine Simmons; Tracey Stokes, MD; Richard Tommer; Ashleay Vesper; Sarah Whitelock; Michael Wild; Bob Wilson and Peter Zupcofska.


The 2019 Celebration Gala Diamond Sponsor was City Furniture, owned by Gala Honorees Keith and Kelly Koenig. Gold sponsors included Pinnacle Advertising, owned by Gala co-chairs Peter and LoriAnn Gary; The Frantz Family, Mike and Heather Frantz; and Optime Consulting.This year’s Silver Sponsors were AutoNation, a longtime partner of the American Cancer Society with many engagement areas throughout the organization, and JM Family Enterprise. The event’s Mission Sponsor was UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center; the Walls of Bravery Sponsor was Cancer Treatment Centers of America; and the Survivor Sponsor was TD Bank. Spirit donors included Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Jackson Family Wines, Zebra Champagne, Islamorada Beer Company and Maison Belle Claire Rosé. Ultimate Software served as the event’s Photo Booth Sponsor. Public relations support was provided by Durée & Company, Inc. Event production and decor was provided by Alorè Event Firm.In-kind donors included Lifestyle Magazine, and iHeart Media.


The American Cancer Society is available to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visit or call 1-800-227-2345.


About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society’s efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks, in part, to our progress nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. We’re finding cures as the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit

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