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The 23rd Lombardi Gala celebrates with an eye to the future
B Y TINA ALSTER, M.D. AND THE HON. PAUL FRAZER
hen you think of the Lombardi Gala, think big - Washington's largest ballroom; a guest list of 1,300; and over 350 silent auction items including yacht trips and bottles of Latour; VIPs from all over the country; and a total of $1.4 million raised.
For 22 years, the Lombardi Gala has been one of the premier social events and brings together Washington notables for an evening of celebration in support of the only crompenhensive cancer center in the nation's capital, the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University.
In 1985, the first director of the Lombardi Cancer Research Center, Dr. John F. Potter, asked Margaret Hodges - who had lost both her dynamic husband, Walter J. Hodges and her daughter, Sheryl Hehemann, to cancer -to organize a black-tie fundraising event.
After brainstorming with friends and potential donors, she started the Lombardi Gala, calling it a "Salute to Sports" in honor of the Center's namesake, Coach Vince Lombardi, who was treated at Georgetown University Hospital for cancer.
Margaret Hodges, who continues to serve on the planning committee today, "deputized" her friends and rallied them around her to make the first Lombardi Gala happen. The 1986 inaugural event - organized and implemented by an all-volunteer committee - sold out, and it continues to do so to this day.
The 2007 Lombardi Gala, to be held on November 3 at the Washington Hilton & Tower's International Ballroom, will feature a select live auction and awards presented to remarkable individuals for their fight against cancer. This is followed by dancing.
This year's honorees include U.S. Open Champion and former CBS Announcer Ken Venturi and internationally renowned sculptor John Safer, who will receive the Margaret L. Hodges Leadership Award.
Past Lombardi Award recipients include: Richard Petty, Lance Armstrong, Joe Torre, Peggy Fleming, Nancy Brinker, Evelyn Lauder, Carolyn Deaver, Andrea Roane and Dan Jansen.
We look forward to welcoming you.