Honorary chairs for the evening were University of North Carolina system President Tom Ross and his wife, Susan Ross; Drs. Bill and Maryann Roper, and Drs. Shelley and JoAnne Earp. The Gala’s presenting sponsor was Boddie-Noell Enterprises on behalf of their Hardee’s franchises, based in Rocky Mount, NC.
With a theme of Explore, Celebrate, Imagine, the evening kicked off with an exciting, interactive reception. Attendees gathered around several exhibits, giving them the opportunity to engage with world-renowned scientists and physicians, while exploring the science behind medical discoveries. Following the reception, the gala program included recognition of four individuals who have made a significant impact on improved outcomes for cancer patients.
Those individuals – Lee Henningsen, Bob Ingram, Dr. Barbara Rimer and the late Dr. Keith Amos – were honored for their amazing commitment to further cancer discovery, prevention, early detection and state-of-the-art treatment.
“Although prevention, diagnostic and treatment tools are improving, cancer remains our state’s deadliest disease and the number two cause of death nationwide,” said Woody Durham, “UNC Lineberger is determined to change those numbers and has the talent and leadership to do it.” Durham, former "Voice of the Tar Heels,” served as the evening’s emcee.
The program ended with a call-to-action from UNC Lineberger cancer patients Lanier Swann Hodgson of Annapolis, MD, Ray Hutchins of High Point, NC, and Ashley Burnette of Raleigh, NC, for everyone to find their own way to make a difference in cancer. Ten-year-old Ashley closed the evening by saying, “I can picture a place where kids like me don’t have to suffer. And moms and dads and grandparents don’t cry because they lost their little girl or boy to cancer…In my heart, I just know, Lineberger will make our dreams come true.”