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American Cancer Society Salutes U.S. Military at Riviera Ball

Benefit event also recognizes recipients of Distinguished Cancer Patient and Caregiver honors and Distinguished Medical Honor award


The American Cancer Society gathered 150 supporters from the Santa Barbara County area to join in a celebration of life and to raise funds to finish the fight against cancer at its 2017 Riviera Ball at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Goleta. Along with its lifesaving programs and services, the organization strives to advance research and provide free local resources.

The Nov. 11 event featured fine foods, premium wines, live music by guitarist Samuel Adams, dancing to the tunes of the Soul Surfers Band, a large and attractive silent auction, a live auction directed by volunteer auctioneer and businessman Andrew Firestone, and recognition of community honorees.

Event committee members included co-chairs Denise Sanford and Chuck Bischof, Gina Bifano, Warren Butler, Claudia Lash, Janet Garufis, Frederic Kass M.D., Christopher Luxford, Thomas Woliver M.D. and Carol Zepke.

“We are grateful that you have chosen to make a meaningful difference in the lives of cancer patients,” Sanford said. “One step in the fight against cancer begins here this evening, coming together in a joint effort to raise funds necessary to continue cancer research. Each step in the fight is fortified by your generosity.”

Sponsors included presenting sponsor Agilent Technologies, Integrated Procurement Technologies, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, Lash Construction, the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center, Montecito Bank & Trust and Wells Fargo.

In-kind sponsors were the Soul Surfers Band, Panera Bread, Pacific Press, Fritz Olenberger Photography, Florabundance, Ella & Louie Floral Studio, Four Brix Winery, Flower Farm Shop in Carpinteria, guitarist Samuel Adams and others.

A wonderful part of the evening was the recognition of the 2017 honorees, which was emceed by Janet Garufis, chairwoman and CEO of Montecito Bank & Trust. Garufis tapped Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Church and caregiver wife Wendy Yoon Church as the Distinguished Cancer Patient and Caregiver honorees.

Distinguished Medical Honor recipient Thomas Woliver M.D. with Ginny Woliver.
Distinguished Medical Honor recipient Thomas Woliver M.D. with Ginny Woliver. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

Church wore his U.S. Army dress uniform at the event, which saluted the U.S. military and took place on Veterans Day. Kass presented the Distinguished Medical Honor to Woliver, in medical oncology and hematology at the Ridley-Tree Cancer Center at Sansum Clinic and affiliated with Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital. Kass was the 2016 medical honoree.

The American Cancer Society is working to finish the fight against every cancer in every community. It is the largest private, nonprofit funder of cancer research in the United States, investing more than $4.5 billion since 1946.

The organization estimates than 1.5 million lives have been saved in the United States in the past two decades because of its work. Since the 1990s, there has been a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the United States.

The American Cancer Society provides free resources and services 24 hours a day at 800.227.2345. Click here for more information about the American Cancer Society, or email regional director Pam Brady at [email protected]. Click here to make an online donation.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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