UCLA Neurosurgery fundraising gala honors luminaries, supports basic brain research

Media Contact

Mark Wheeler
(310) 794-2265
Luminaries from the areas of medicine, philanthropy and entertainment, including legendary composer Burt Bacharach and comedian Louie Anderson, will be honored for their contributions to their respective fields at the UCLA Department of Neurosurgery's Visionary Ball on Thursday, Oct. 14, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
 
Proceeds from the annual event benefit neurosurgical research and educational programs at UCLA. Funds raised, for example, help support "seed" grants for research in such areas as pediatric and adult traumatic brain injury, brain tumors, and cognitive neurophysiology — the study of the function of brain cells in various forms of cognition.
 
This year's event, which includes a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. and dinner, an awards ceremony and entertainment beginning at 7 p.m., will also feature the short film "The Brain and Beyond: A Vision of Miracles," a 3-D journey into the stereoscopic world of neurosurgery.
 
In addition, the evening's entertainment will include performances by Grammy Award—winning jazz singer Steve Tyrell and Grammy-winning singer-actress Dionne Warwick, both of whom have collaborated extensively with Burt Bacharach over the years. The event will be hosted by actor Mario Lopez, host of the syndicated TV entertainment news program "Extra."
 
The 2010 Visionary Ball's honorees will include:
 
Visionary Award: Gerald S. Levey, M.D.
Dr. Levey is a nationally recognized leader in both academic medicine and private sector medical affairs. In his 15 years at the helm of UCLA's medical enterprise (1994–2010), he held the dual position of vice chancellor for medical sciences and dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Among his many accomplishments, he helped bring to fruition the extraordinary $200 million endowment from David Geffen for UCLA's medical school and oversaw the creation of the world-class Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Levey now serves as dean emeritus, Lincy Foundation Distinguished Service Professor and distinguished professor of medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine.
 
Visionary Award: Beth and Josh Friedman
Josh and Beth Friedman are role models of excellence in their professional accomplishments and a major force in the Los Angeles philanthropic community. Josh is co-founder, co-chairman and co-CEO of Canyon Partners LLC, a leading global alternative asset management firm, and Beth earned her M.B.A. from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. The two share a deep commitment to making a difference, having supported a host of institutions in the fields of education and medicine. Beth is also a member of the board of the Today's and Tomorrow's Children Fund, which benefits UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital. In August 2009, the Friedmans experienced firsthand the exceptional medical talent and human touch of the doctors and staff at UCLA Neurosurgery when their son Wesley was seriously injured in a skiing accident. Wesley is well on the road to recovery, and the Friedmans are determined to help UCLA continue the world-class work from which their family benefited.
 
Icon Award: Burt Bacharach 
For six decades, legendary composer Burt Bacharach has had one of songwriting's most successful and honored careers, marked by 48 Top 10 hits, nine No. 1 songs, more than 500 compositions and a landmark run of more than 50 years on the charts. Bacharach underwent extensive and complicated spinal surgery at UCLA Neurosurgery last December. He is enjoying a complete recovery and has returned to conducting orchestras and performing. He remains a devoted friend and admirer of the doctors and staff who cared for him.
 
Rodney Respect Award: Louie Anderson
Comedian Louie Anderson will receive the Rodney Respect Award, which recognizes comedians who embody late actor and comedian Rodney Dangerfield's extraordinary professional legacy and devotion to making a difference in the lives of others. Anderson, a stand-up comedian for more than 25 years, created the successful cartoon series "Life With Louie," has written three books and was the initial host of the second revival of the game show "Family Feud," from 1999 to 2002. He has worked with numerous charities and is the co-founder of the H.E.R.O. organization, whose mission is to empower the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless to "attain maximum self-sufficiency." In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, Anderson performed at a New York City benefit for the widows of fallen policemen and firefighters. Previous Rodney Respect Award recipients have included Jay Leno, Tim Allen and Jim Carrey.
 
To purchase tickets for the event or to make a donation, please contact Grant Associates at 323-904-4400.
 
For all other inquiries, please contact Silviya Saad at [email protected]
 
The UCLA Department of Neurosurgery is committed to providing the finest and most comprehensive patient care through innovative clinical programs in minimally invasive brain and spinal surgery; neuroendoscopy; neuro-oncology for both adult and pediatric brain tumors; cerebrovascular surgery; stereotactic radiosurgery for brain and spinal disorders; surgery for movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease; and epilepsy surgery. For 20 consecutive years, the department has been ranked among the top 10 neurosurgery programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
 
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Media Contact:
Mark Wheeler
(310) 794-2265
[email protected]