The 30th Annual Odyssey Ball

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Gary Sinise and Alecia “P!nk” Moore
Gary Sinise and Alecia “P!nk” Moore

Photo Credit: Vince Bucci

Nearly 500 guests gathered at the Beverly Wilshire over the weekend to attend the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary’s 30th annual Odyssey Ball.  

Host J.R. Martinez thanked Odyssey Sponsors Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson in his opening remarks before movingly relating the story of his own brush with death while serving in Iraq and subsequent recovery from massive burns. “While I was recovering,” said Martinez, “a nurse asked me to speak to another burn patient. That nurse was a hero because by getting me to think beyond my own pain and recovery, she set me on a path to help others.” Describing the doctors, nurses, scientists, researchers and donors at the John Wayne Cancer Institute as “heroic warriors,” he went on to introduce Anita Swift, John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary president and granddaughter of the late, iconic actor, John Wayne.

Lee England Jr.
Lee England Jr.

Photo Credit: Vince Bucci

He then presented the “True Grit” Humanitarian Award to Oscar-nominated and Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG award-winning actor Gary Sinise. For more than thirty years, Sinise has advocated in support of America’s veterans. His commitment started in the early 1980s when he began supporting local Vietnam veterans groups in the Chicago area and created the Vets Night program at the Steppenwolf Theatre, giving free meals and performances to Chicago’s veterans. Most recently, Sinise was named an honorary Marine, an honorary Chief Petty Officer by the Navy and was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Award. In 2011, he established the Gary Sinise Foundation (www.garysinisefoundation.org) to expand his individual efforts and has raised millions of dollars in support of our veterans and first responders.

Inside the 30th annual Odyssey Ball
Inside the 30th annual Odyssey Ball

Photo Credit: Vince Bucci

Samantha Bryant, former patient and cancer survivor, presented Maggie DiNome, MD, FACS, acting director of the Margie Petersen Breast Center, director of the Cancer Prevention Program, chief of general surgery at Providence Saint John’s Health Center and an assistant professor at the John Wayne Cancer Institute with “The Duke” Special Service Award, calling her “a rock star among doctors.”

After the dinner and awards presentation, guests like Alecia “P!nk” Moore and husband Cary Hart caught a performance by violin virtuoso Lee England Jr. as well as acts including The Company Men and The Tony Galla Band featuring Billy Valentine. 

 

 

 

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