The recent merger of two popular nonprofit foundations (IGN Foundation and Art of the Brain) into "HEART OF THE BRAIN” has proven to be an enormous success in its first few months. On September 22nd, the organization held its first Gala Celebration on the campus of UCLA with a gathering of over 400 attendees, the largest ever held by either organization separately. Along the Coral Tree Walk, a beautifully decorated circus-like atmosphere prevailed just outside the UCLA Freud Playhouse. Acrobats dressed in sparkling costumes, a stilt walker, and other festive hosts and hostesses greeted the attendees as they entered for a very fun evening.
Blue Dog Tavern, Choux Choux Catering, District by Hannah An, Grill on the Alley, Marco’s Trattoria, Panzanella Ristorante, Stonefire Grill, Taco Boy, Stan’s Donuts, Wood Ranch BBQ and Bristol Farms Corner Bakery made 100% food donations for the event.
Not to be outdone, complimentary drinks were provided by ABK Beer, Brandero Tequila, Bogart Spirits, Villicana Winery and Woodland Hills Wine Co. Great new friends of Heart of the Brain!
A very special thank you goes to Luna Gardens Events for their generous efforts in coordinating such a large donation by these amazing vendors.
Mr. Tom Kenny, an Emmy Award-winning comedian and the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants, hosted the evening's entertainment and awards ceremony. Mr. Kenny provided a highly infectious humor to a fast-paced evening of awards and recognition.
Dr. Linda Liau and Dr. Timothy Cloughesy received the Johnny Mercer Foundation Award for sheer excellence in the search for a cure to brain cancer and the $11.4 million SPORE Grant they received from the National Cancer Institute. The Annual Judi Kaufman Award was presented to Luzianne Fernandez for her selfless professional administrative efforts on behalf of all the doctors, department heads, and individuals involved in enhancing the launch of Heart of the Brain. The first Isabel Neidorf award was presented to Isabel's grandmother, Lenore Neidorf, for a $500,000 pledge toward the cure for brain cancer.
The evening included musical and dance tributes to Johnny Mercer and George Gershwin by Samantha Shapiro Quartet and the Sypher Elite Dance Crew.
Heart of the Brain has pledged to raise $10,000,000 dollars over the next five years for research into the cure for brain cancer. By the end of the evening over $1,100,000 was donated or pledged by the gathering of patients, families, supporters and companies who care about making the impossible……possible. Gala Celebration 2 has a tentative “hold the date” for September 7, 2019, and is looking forward to an even larger event than the first one. Mark your calendar and please plan to join the fight to do the impossible and make a difference in the world.