Gala honors survivors and crusaders of pediatric cancer

Gala honors survivors and crusaders of pediatric cancer
Alexandra Capellini was one of many cancer survivors at the gala on Sept. 23.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

Top cancer researchers, cancer survivors and a chef were honored on Sept. 23 at Hopefest 2011.

Hopefest is an annual fundraiser held by Frankie’s Mission, a non-profit organization dedicated to serve pediatric cancer patients, emotionally and financially. It stresses emphasis on awareness on the importance of research for a cure for cancer.

“Hopefest is our platform event, and our opportunity to send the message of our important work.” Frankie’s Mission’s founder, Camille Orrichio, says. “As we celebrate our strong and active success in helping these young warriors, we also salute the worthiest of individuals.”

There were 270 attendees throughout the gala, which was held at Gargiulo’s Restaurant in Coney Island. The night included raffles and a prize auction. All the prizes from the raffles were given through donations.

Hopefest honored four individuals who contributed to pediatric cancer treatments, including Dr. Alexander J. Chou, who was recognized for his scientific research and help to the pediatric community while spending his time at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Dr. Francis J. DeVito, who was honored for going above and beyond with cancer patients in Bay Ridge; and executive chef for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Pnina Peled, who was celebrated for her compassion and commitment to developing healthy and tasty food programs for pediatric cancer patients.

The “Michele Grace Marciano Award” went to Christopher Lamberto, a 13-year-old student at Good Shepherd Junior High School in Marine Park. This award is typically given to young cancer survivors who raise awareness for the cause of pediatric cancer.

Michael Weinstein — a 5-year-old cancer survivor — just finished his chemotherapy, shortly before appearing at Francesco Loccisano Foundation’s fundraiser at Gargiulo’s.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

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