The Tonight Show came to a stunning Hope Ranch estate for one night, hosting the first-ever gala in the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara’s 64-year history. “Coming Together for Cancer Care” celebrated a partnership with Sansum Clinic to raise funds benefiting local cancer patients and programs.
The union of these two nonprofit health-care organizations has served to enhance cancer care in Santa Barbara with expanded clinical research and resources to improve care for oncology patients with the community.
“The Cancer Center of Santa Barbara coming together with Sansum Clinic is really enhancing oncology care in our community,” said Rick Scott, president of CCSB and vice president of oncology services of Sansum Clinic. “And it’s really a special marriage, if you will, to bring these two organizations together because it’s going to mean better care for our patients in the future.”
Nearly 500 community members, donors, sponsors, physicians, committee members, trustees and celebrities were also an important piece of the puzzle on this evening, reinforced with a gift bag reminder of puzzle pieces that further drove home the message.
As sunset approached, guests adorned in cocktail attire and jackets and ties were provided the opportunity to explore the magnificent grounds of Isla Mar and to sip a variety of Rusack wines and sample Farmers Market appetizers on the historic estate of Geoffrey Claflin Rusack and Alison Wrigley Rusack.
Isla Mar was originally built for Peter Cooper and Angelica Schuyler Bryce in 1926 with architect George Washington Smith, and the Spanish Colonial Revival style home on 38.9 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean was inspired by Casa del Greco in Toledo, Spain, with textiles, light fixtures and furnishings from Spain.
Jugglers, mimes and other street performers guided guests into the main event tent for a three-course meal from Rincon Events and celebrity chef Jamie West of fresh Maine lobster salad, braised beef short ribs and a trio dessert plate of handcrafted chocolates.
West has more than 30 years of professional experience, including guest chef features at the James Beard House in New York in 2003 and 2009, and was honored as Chef of the Year for Southern California in 2000.
Once seated the program began, highlighted by gala speaker Hollye Jacobs, RN, MS, MSW, a nurse, social worker, child development specialist, speaker and author of the award-winning blog The Silver Pen, which provides inspiration and information for readers faced with breast cancer. Jacobs also contributes to The Huffington Post, BreastCancer.org, Susan G. Komen and the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation Army of Women blog.
Jacobs is a 42-year-old mother of a 7-year-old girl and proud owner of her beloved dog, Buzz, who was a big piece of her recovery process, curling nearby her bed.
“As a healthy, happy, vegan-eating, marathon-running 39-year-old mother with no family history of breast cancer being diagnosed with the disease in 2010 rocked my world,” Jacobs said. “In an instant, as a nurse and social worker, I now found myself on the other side of the bed.”
It was in this moment when Jacobs chose a critical path for her recovery.
“I realized that I had two choices about how I was going to handle my diagnosis — from a place of fear or a place of optimism,” Jacobs said. “I chose — and it was indeed a very active choice — optimism in the form of silver linings.”
Kurt Ransohoff, M.D., CEO and chief medical officer of the Sansum Clinic, was the internist at the time of Jacobs’ diagnosis, and he was the one who orchestrated her relationship with the Cancer Center.
“I think the merger is a terrific opportunity for our community to be able to have clinicians who cover the gamut from traditional internal medicine through whatever comes down someone’s way,” he said.
“This is a wonderful charity event, and they asked me and that’s why I’m here,” Leno said. “I try to do all the ones I’m asked to do, and this is as important as the other ones. It’s hard to say breast cancer is more important than pancreatic cancer — it’s all important. It’s easy to do and it’s fun, and it raises money.”
Leno’s charm and outlandish persona were on full display during a very special live auction that was just a part of the puzzle put together by event organizers Tracie Fiss, entertainment and auction items; Christy Kolva, committees and table sponsors; and Julie Nadel, gala event coordination.
The impressive list of items included a cruise for two anywhere in the world with Azamara Club Cruises valued up to $20,000, an “Epicurean Adventure for Four” in Napa with dinner at French Laundry and an opportunity to meet chef Thomas Keller, and another priceless opportunity of dinner with George Stephanopoulos and Alexandra Wentworth at Per Se restaurant in New York City.
Also up for bid were a Swiss-made Corum watch valued at $20,000, a Manchester United VIP experience for four staying at the exclusive team hotel with a tour of the Old Trafford stadium and private tour of the Aon training complex, or a walk-on role in Ben Affleck’s next film, and the “Jay Leno Super Package for Four,” with an exclusive opportunity to view Leno’s car collection, VIP seating at The Tonight Show and round-trip limo service from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles, raised $70,000 for the cause.
Other items included an all-electric Fiat 500E, valued at $34,545, a “Viva Las Vegas for Four” deluxe package including private jet travel in a Lear 35 with Santa Barbara Aviation, “Rock of Ages” tickets and a AAA five-diamond suite at The Palazzo in Las Vegas.
Following the enlightened bidding for these heavily sought-after items was a “Fund-a-Need” paddle raise supporting the Cancer Center’s patient assistance, wellness and support programs, including nurse navigation, nutrition counseling, support groups, screening programs and classes such as yoga, painting, meditation and laughter.
In total, the evening raised $1.1 million that will help offset the $1.4 million per year cost of these important programs.
“We’re going to be able to do much more research because by having all of the capacity together we’ll be able to attract more research studies,” Ransohoff told Noozhawk. “I think we’re going to be able to recruit more doctors and let them sub specialize in ways that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.”
Click here to learn more about the programs and services offered at the Cancer Center in partnership with Sansum Clinic and to continue supporting this important cause.
Dancing and entertainment with Leno and Rickey Minor and the Tonight Show Band closed out this one-of-a-kind event and was the final piece of the puzzle for a truly unique and special fundraiser in Santa Barbara.
Sansum Clinic is the largest independent nonprofit health-care organization between the Los Angeles Basin and the San Francisco Bay Area with more than 150 affiliated physicians and 800 employees providing the full spectrum of health-care services, from primary care to more than 30 specialties. One in two people in Santa Barbara and one in four people in Santa Barbara County receive care at Sansum Clinic, serving more than 150,000 patients annually at 20 patient care facilities between Carpinteria and Santa Maria.
Since 1949, the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara has provided comprehensive, non-surgical, outpatient cancer care and with Sansum Clinic provides state-of-the-art cancer treatment and support for patients along the Central Coast.
Today the Cancer Center with Sansum Clinic is comprised of three medical departments — radiation and oncology in Santa Barbara treating more than 800 patients in 2012, nuclear medicine in Santa Barbara treating more than 3,800 patients in 2012, and medical oncology and hematology in Santa Barbara, Solvang and Lompoc treating more than 3,000 patients in 2012.
The Cancer Center of Santa Barbara and Sansum Clinic graciously thank the sponsors of the 2013 gala, underwritten almost entirely through their generous support:
» Bronze: Keith C. Berry of Boulder Associates, Elekta, Jim Lewis, Network Hardware Resale, The Nichols Management Group, Philips Metsch Sweeney Moore, Southern California Reproductive Center/Mark Surrey, M.D., V3 and WaltersGroup Creative