Friends of MGH Cancer Center Hosts Annual Luncheon

The Friends of the Mass General Cancer Center – a group of active volunteers who raise funds to bridge exceptional medical and supportive cancer care through innovative programs that promote whole-person healing – recently hosted their annual Spring Luncheon, which drew a crowd of nearly 300 to the Four Seasons Boston Hotel. The event raised close to $90,000, with donations still coming in.

The benefit included a reception, luncheon and remarks from Friends of the Mass General Cancer Center President Brenda Flavin Warshaw; 2017 luncheon Co-Chairs MaryLynn Antonellis, Leslie McCafferty and Marion Martignetti; co-authors of Living with Cancer, David P. Ryan, MD, Chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Mass General Cancer Center, and Vicki A. Jackson, MD, MPH, Chief of the Division of Palliative Care at Mass General; and former Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Michael Schmidt, a Hall of Famer, three-time MVP winner, and 10-time Gold Glove Award recipient.

Schmidt, who played 18 seasons with the Phillies, was diagnosed in 2013 with stage IV melanoma that had metastasized to his brain and lungs and received treatment at the Mass General Cancer Center. Schmidt spoke about his personal experience with his care team at the Cancer Center and the benefits of targeted therapies and an immunotherapy, the treatments he received.

Since 1984, the Friends of the Mass General Cancer Center have worked to help fund diverse services and resources that complement the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center’s 29 fully integrated, multidisciplinary clinical programs. Each year, funds raised at the spring benefit help support these vital services which are provided to cancer patients and their families at no cost. These include:

The Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program, providing massage therapy, acupuncture, music therapy, art therapy and other services

The Financial Assistance Fund for Patients and Families, which serves as a resource for families struggling with the financial burdens of cancer

The Toy Box for Patients & Siblings, which distributes more than 35 toys each week to young patients and siblings in the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center

The Howard Ulfelder, MD, Healing Garden, a peaceful rooftop garden for quiet reflection

Maxwell V. Blum Cancer Support and Education Hub, a welcoming and comfortable space where patients and families can connect with the many supports and resources available at the Cancer Center

The Network for Patients & Families, a peer support program for patients, families and friends

According to Dr. Ryan, “Our patients and their families value all of the initiatives the Friends work so diligently to support. Our annual luncheon gives us an opportunity to focus attention on these essential programs while raising much needed funds to help sustain them long into the future.”

About the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center

An integral part of one of the world’s most distinguished academic medical centers, the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center’s commitment to eradicating cancer is fueled by scientific investigation conducted as part of the largest hospital-based research program in the United States. Through a powerful synergy between scientists in the laboratories and physicians at the bedside, the Cancer Center fosters innovation in basic, translational and clinical research. The Cancer Center can be found online at:

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