NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Last night was an extraordinary evening for four people, as two bone marrow transplant recipients – one only two years old – met their lifesaving donors at the Gift of Life Marrow Registry’s annual gala. More than 600 guests filled the historic Gotham Hall in New York City, and in an amazing outpouring of support for Gift of Life’s mission, they contributed over $2 million to the organization to add marrow donors to the registry and match them with cancer patients in need of transplants.
This year’s Gift of Life gala honoree was Shari Redstone, Vice-Chair of CBS and Viacom and President of National Amusements, as well as Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Advancit Capital, a venture fund focusing on early stage companies at the intersection of media, entertainment and technology. Redstone received the Partners in Life award for her service to others in need. Her personal Donor Circle has funded the addition of nearly 4,000 new marrow donors to the registry, resulting in 63 potential matches that have led to 9 transplants to date.
“We have an opportunity and a responsibility, as individuals and as business leaders, to use our voices and our actions to have an impact, and to stay involved,” said Redstone. “None of us knows how many lives we have changed tonight, and how many lives we have saved. But it is my hope that when you leave here tonight, you leave here as I did five years ago [at my first gala], knowing that although we had an amazing impact this evening, we are just getting started.”
Saving a young life
Donor and Gift of Life Tufts Campus Ambassador Nick Judson, 23, from San Francisco, Calif., was introduced to two-year-old recipient A.J. Loscheider from Excelsior, Minn. In 2014, A.J. and his twin sister, Emma, were born two months early, and when only ten days old, A.J. became ill. After five months of tests his parents learned the diagnosis – a rare condition called IPEX with only 150 documented cases worldwide. A bone marrow transplant was the best option for a cure, and A.J.’s procedure took place in August 2015 at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. His recovery took several months, but today he is off medication and is a happy and healthy child.
“We’d like to the thank Gift of Life for finding our perfect eight out of eight match and for this wonderful opportunity to meet A.J.’s donor tonight,” said Christena Loscheider, A.J.’s mother. “It means so much to be able to spread the word on the importance of joining the registry and donating in any way possible, whether it be by stem cells, money or time.”
Young woman saved by a generous stranger
Donor Thomas Davis, 22, of Chattanooga, Tenn. was introduced to his recipient, Paige McCoy, 30, of Parker, Colo. McCoy was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia during an emergency room visit in October 2015. Her only sister was not a match, so physicians started a search of the international registries.
Fortunately, Gift of Life found one matching donor for McCoy in its registry. She received her transplant in January 2016 and after a tough battle with graft vs. host disease, she is now recovered. McCoy found new purpose in life, devoting her time to volunteering with several organizations in the fight against cancer.
Jordan Klepper, actor, comedian, and correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, served as emcee for the evening. Based in New York City, Klepper will launch his own late night series on Comedy Central beginning in the fall of 2017. A companion to The Daily Show, the new series will air Monday to Thursday at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT. Klepper’s first special, Jordan Klepper Solves Guns, which combines documentary filmmaking, comedy and investigative journalism will debut on Sunday, June 11 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on Comedy Central. The one-hour special spotlights the alarming legal obstacles and enlightening personal testimony surrounding the issue of gun violence in America.
Other award recipients included CBRE, Inc., with Chairman of Global Brokerage Steven Siegel accepting, and The Saul and Theresa Esman Foundation, represented by Executive Director Murray Levin. Also in attendance were New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Broadway, Hollywood and TV actress Tovah Feldshuh and businessman and philanthropist Charles Bronfman.
About Gift of Life
Gift of Life Marrow Registry is a national, non-profit headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla. The organization, established in 1991, is dedicated to curing blood cancer through bone marrow and stem cell donation. To learn more about the Gift of Life Marrow Registry, visit www.giftoflife.org.