The American Cancer Society to Host Virtual Gala

The event will honor Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, Chevrolet, and others for leading the fight against cancer locally while giving guests the chance to give back to the nonprofit
chevrolet american cancer society
Chevrolet will be honored during the Night of Discovery gala. // Photograph courtesy of the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is at risk of cutting cancer research funding by 50 percent this year — its lowest investment in this century — due to hardships brought on by the pandemic. Now, the nonprofit, which is funding nearly 20 research grants totaling $9.2 million in Michigan, is giving locals an opportunity to support its mission during these difficult times with a digital gala called the Night of Discovery.

Kicking off with a pre-show at 6:30 p.m., the Nov. 12 event will be emceed by WDIV’s Kimberly Gill and Devin Scillian and feature live entertainment, a silent auction, and a best dressed competition.

The evening will also honor “four leaders in the fight against cancer.” Honorees include Michigan State University Men’s Basketball Coach Tom Izzo, who has raised more than $1.1 million for ACS with his wife, Lupe, and the Lansing community; Chevrolet, which has raised over $13.9 million to fund breast cancer research and other initiatives; University of Michigan Women’s Softball Coach Carol Hutchins, who has raised more than $1.3 million for ACS through her softball program; and Ken and Kristen Lingenfelter, who have made a donation that will serve as a match for the gala.

tom izzo american cancer society
Michigan State University coach Tom Izzo — pictured above with his wife, Lupe, (far right) — will also be honored at the gala. // Photograph courtesy of the American Cancer Society

Night of Discovery will include opportunities to give back to the nonprofit, which has provided frontline healthcare workers with free places to stay at Hope Lodge facilities across the U.S., provided information and resources about COVID-19 to those diagnosed with cancer, and fought for policies that support cancer patients during the pandemic.

“Cancer hasn’t stopped for COVID-19, so neither can we,” says Karen Cullen, who is co-chairing the gala with her husband, Matt Cullen, the executive chairman of JACK entertainment, and Tom Shafer, president and COO of TCF Bank. “The reality is that cancer patients cannot wait for a more convenient time. They are facing unprecedented challenges when it comes to treatment, support, and services. In fact, a recent ACS study showed that 79 percent of cancer patients in active treatment report delays in care due to the pandemic. They are counting on ACS to continue its important work and ACS is counting on us to fuel that work.”

The virtual gala is open at no cost to the general public, but guests must register online to receive text and email notifications for the auction and livestream. VIP experiences are reserved for sponsors and donors.

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