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April 27, 2017 (Boston, MA)

Nearly 100 Miracle Makers and their guests attended the 6th Annual Miracle Maker Leadership Council Funding Awards Celebration on April 27, 2017 at the offices of Eaton Vance Management and NextShares, which generously hosted the reception for Expect Miracles Foundation’s major donors for a third straight year. 

 

Expect Miracles Foundation’s Executive Director, Frank Heavey, welcomed everyone to the annual event “to celebrate the tremendous generosity and impact of the Miracle Makers, who collectively make up our major donor circles of the Miracle Maker Leadership Council – the MMLC – and lead the Foundation’s life-saving mission.”

Heavey congratulated the Miracle Makers for leading by example by taking action.  A year ago, Heavey explained, “there were 86 Miracle Makers. Today there are 119 pledging almost a quarter million dollars per year to advance the Foundation’s life-saving mission of investing in research and patient care.”

With Expect Miracles Foundation being a major supporter of the Robert and Renée Belfer Center for Applied Cancer Science at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Miracle Makers’ generosity has helped advance the development of new therapies and revolutionary technologies.

Dr. Cloud Paweletz, Ph.D., head of the Translational Research Laboratory (TRL) at the Belfer Center, thanked the Miracle Makers for their support, leadership and trust.  He explained that is with the support of Expect Miracles Foundation, the Belfer Center has taken the liquid biopsy technology it developed for lung cancer and begun work testing the technology with breast, colon, head and neck, and pancreatic cancers, with the ultimate goal of early detection diagnostic tests.

Karan McClimans from T. Rowe Price proudly presented the first MMLC funding award to a patient care organization - a $3,600 award to Zaching Against Cancer Foundation, from Baltimore, MD, to expand its massage therapy program through offering complementary therapies to patients undergoing treatment for cancer. John and Christine Lederer thanked the Miracle Makers for the award and explained that before their son Zach passed away from brain cancer, he started the charity to provide integrative therapy to patients because Zach wanted others to feel strength, determination and hope.

Before presenting the next award, Eileen Storz-Salino, from Eaton Vance, shared with the audience how moved she is to be part of the MMLC. “I truly believe that this is a fight that all of us need to help with and that we need to work together. And that belief will make the change we all seek.”  She presented a check for $5,000 to Hospitality Homes, a Boston-based charity that provides free short-term housing to patients and families coming to Boston to access the city’s world-class hospitals and doctors.  Marianne Jones accepted the award and shared that the funding would be used to establish a partnership with Uber to provide over 500 free rides to cancer patients so they may access the wider geography of accommodations.

Frank Heavey presented a $5,000 check to Executive Director Margaret Koch of The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden Cancer Support Center to support the Harvard, MA-based organization’s Fund-A-Need program that provides free care to cancer patients who are eligible and would not otherwise have access to vitally supportive integrative therapies including counseling, oncology massage, acupuncture, Shiatsu, Reiki, expressive art therapy, and more.

Miracle Maker Jim Keenan, from Citi, accepted a $10,000 award on behalf of the Southern California-based charity, From Maddi’s Closet, to support the Patient Special Needs Fund, which provides financial assistance for medical and comfort items including items such as pediatric strollers, medical co-pays assistance, pediatric wheelchairs, pediatric canes, 4-wheeled walkers, medications/over-the-counter items and more. Keenan expressed the organization’s sincere appreciation for the Miracle Makers’ effort to improve the lives of children fighting cancer.

Hugh Kelly, from Harbor Capital Advisors, accepted a $10,000 award on behalf of the Houston-based organization, Purple Songs Can Fly, to help the charity serve the youngest patients at Texas Children's Cancer and Hematology Centers with a gift of original lullabies written and recorded in the Purple Songs Can Fly studio by older pediatric cancer patients.

Brian Rudenaurer, from State Street, a young professional Miracle Maker, presented a $10,000 grant to Camp Casco in Massachusetts to provide a week of summer camp free of cost for 18 children who have or have had cancer, and to cover the cost of the medical team's stay at the camp, creating a safe and healthy camp week. Whitney Silkworth graciously thanked Expect Miracles Foundation and the Miracle Makers for their continued generosity and support.

Terence Faherty, a Miracle Maker from Broadridge Financial, presented Donna Green, the Founder of Magical Moon Foundation, a Marshfield, MA organization, with a check for $10,000 to refurbish a 1970’s Air Stream Camper so it may serve as a therapy unit complete with a spaceship cockpit for children battling cancer.  Green thanked the Miracle Makers for supporting the magic that turns an unfair diagnosis of cancer into an empowering and nurturing course of action.

To end the very special evening, Frank Heavey recalled how last year the Miracle Makers celebrated the FDA-approval of the oral therapy, Tagrisso, which Expect Miracles Foundation helped fund the development of at the Belfer Center and Dana-Farber.  Heavey then welcomed special guests Leslie and Chris Duffy from Chicago.  Leslie was diagnosed with metastatic stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer in 2015 while pregnant with their second child.  Chris explained that despite the cancer spreading to Leslie’s liver and brain, she is doing remarkable well today because of Tagrisso.  With incredible sincerity, Leslie and Chris thanked Expect Miracles Foundation and the Miracle Makers for their generosity.

The Duffys were in Boston to go to Fenway Park for the Red Sox – Cubs game.  Expect Miracles Foundation presented them with a photo of Fenway’s famed Green Monster scoreboard which spells out, “Expect Miracles,” because when we all work together, we can expect miracles!

 

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