Philanthropist Stewart Rahr Makes $640.000 Donation to Cancer Research, Bringing Gala Fundraising Total to $1 Million
The Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) hosted its 2012 Tower of Hope Gala on December 3 at the Pierre Hotel in New York.. The evening’s honored guests were oncologist Dr. Yashar Hirshaut, who received the Tower of Hope Lifetime Achievement Award and Peter and Mary Max who accepted The Tower of Hope Humanitarian Award for Philanthropic Leadership and Service. Benjamin Brafman, a principal of the law firm, Brafman & Associates, served as the Master of Ceremonies. In a surprise announcement, philanthropist Stewart Rahr revealed that he will donate $640,000 to ICRF, bringing the evening’s fundraising for cancer research to a total of $1 million.
Honoree Dr. Yashar Hirshaut, a renowned oncologist in private practice in New York city, has dedicated his life to fighting the war against cancer. Dr. Hirshaut is an Attending Physician at Lenox Hill Hospital; Beth Israel Hospital, New York Hospital and Mount Sinai Medical Center. He is author of the book, “Breast Cancer: The Complete Guide,” as well as founder and editor of the journal, Cancer Investigation. Having served as a key leader of ICRF for more than 30 years, Dr. Hirshaut, is President and Chairman Emeritus of ICRF and was recently appointed President of the Israel Cancer Research Fund International Scientific Council.
Peter Max , who was honored together with his Mary, has a long-standing career as the preeminent Pop artist in America. With paintings on exhibition in hundreds of museums and galleries worldwide, his vibrant colors have become part of contemporary culture. He has painted for many heads of state, including six U.S. presidents. From art that appeared on the first U.S. 10-cent stamp bearing the title, Preserve the Environment, to 235 U.S. Border murals greeting millions of people entering America each year, Peter Max seeks to capture themes of America in his art. Together with Mary, Peter is an ardent supporter of animal rights, human health, Israel and philanthropy.
According to Ken Goodman, chairman of the Israel Cancer Research Fund, “ For the past 37 years, ICRF has identified and funded world-class cancer research scientists working in Israel. The organization is focused on funding both established scientists and young researchers who are just starting their careers. Our targeted funding has helped lead to the discovery of significant cancer fighting drugs such as Doxil, Gleevec and Velcade. Now with the very generous gift from Stewart Rahr, we will be able to fund more cutting edge cancer research in Israel, which will undoubtedly lead to even more dramatic breakthroughs and treatments for cancer patients around the world.”
The Israel Cancer Research Fund is the single largest source of private funds for cancer research in Israel. Since its establishment in 1975, it has provided more that 1,937 grants totaling $45,795,000 to outstanding scientists who work at all of the leading research institutions in Israel. The scientists include two recipients of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and an awardee of the prestigious G.H.A. Clowes award from the American Research Association.
Major accomplishments of ICRF grantees include:
• Velcade - a drug used to treat multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow, was developed based on the research of
ICRF Professors and Nobel Prize winners, Drs. Avram Hershko & Aaron Ciechanover, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology
•Gleevec - the first drug to directly target cancer cells, was developed based on the research work of ICRF awardee, Dr. Eli Canaani, Weizmann Institute of Science
•Doxil - the first drug encapsulated in a liposome (or microscopic fat bubble) for direct delivery to a tumor site, was developed by ICRF awardee, Dr. Alberto Gabizon, Shaare Zedek Medical Center
• The p53 Gene - originally thought to cause cancer, was correctly identified as a tumor suppressor, and its role in the majority of human cancers further elucidated by ICRF awardees, Drs. Moshe Oren and Varda Rotter, Weizmann Institute of Science
• DNA Methylation - is a molecular process that turns genes on and off. Pioneering work in this area was performed by ICRF Professor and Israel Prize winner, Dr. Howard Cedar, Hebrew University/Hadassah Medical School
• The RAD51 Gene - The discovery that a minor mutation in this gene increases the risk of breast cancer in women with the BRCA2 gene mutation was made by ICRF awardee Dr. Ephrat Levy-Lahad, Shaare Zedek Medical Center
• A Novel Bone Marrow Transplant Technique - to greatly expand the donor pool for leukemia treatment, was developed by ICRF awardee, Dr. Yair Reisner, Weizmann Institute of Science