LOS ANGELES — It was an evening synergizing dance, medicine and philantrophy.
The Aveni Cancer Foundation hosted a fundraiser at the Aratani Theater in Los Angeles, featuring American Ballet Theater’s first Filipino American principal dancer, Stella Abrera, and principal dancer James Whiteside.
The foundation’s mission is to expedite the development of gene-targeted cancer medicine, and address other unmet medical needs.
The ballet benefit also recognized 10-year cancer survivors who were treated with Aveni’s DeltaRex-G.
Doctor Erlinda Gordon, the foundation’s president, explained what their cancer drug does.
“Delta Rex-g is a tumor-targeting genetic medicine that when injected intravenously, seeks out and accumulates in tumors—and nowhere else.”
Abrera said her participation at the fundraiser runs deep, and is very personal. She dedicated her performance to her childhood friend Alvin.
“ Sadly, I learned in 2017 that Alvin lost his battle with sarcoma, with cancer. So Rich and I put our heads together and said how can we celebrate his life and do some good for the Aveni foundation.”
Experts who work with Aveni said cancer research continues to make strides in prolonging and improving the quality of lives of patients.—and when asked if there is a light at the end of the tunnel…
“There is as long we recognize that it’s not just a medical issue, it’s an engineering issue as well.”
“ Cancer used to be thought of as a death sentence. Now, a lot of people are being educated and understanding that there are a lot more modalities to treat the cancer now.”
But Myrna Jensen, who said her sister survived pancreatic cancer with the help of the foundation, expressed that it’s also their faith that got them through the toughest times.