The John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary held its 23rd Annual Odyssey Ball last weekend.
With New York as its decorative theme depicting familiar landmarks from Broadway to Central Park, over 500 people, bedecked and bejeweled, showed up at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to pay tribute to philanthropist Carolyn Dirks, who was honored for her outstanding efforts over the last 40 years on behalf of finding a cure for cancer.
In presenting her with “The Duke Award,” John Wayne Cancer Institute Chairman Patrick Wayne said, “Carolyn Dirks is an extraordinary role model and dedicated supporter.” He continued, “The Dirks/Dougherty Prostate Center will put us at the forefront in the battle against prostate cancer – the second leading cause of cancer death in men.”
The creation of this center was made possible by a $6.5 million gift, arranged by Dirks, from the Gould Foundation to John Wayne Cancer Institute founded by the Wayne family in 1981, two years after John Wayne lost his battle with stomach cancer. The Institute, at Saint John’s Health Center, is committed to research, education, and treatment, and has made significant advances in melanoma, breast, and colon cancer research, as well as immune therapy.
­Hosted by Beth Broderick, with a musical performance by Rosalind Kind, the incredibly talented, look-alike, sound-alike sister of Barbra Streisand, “Imagine a Cure” was the watchword for the evening, and judging from the financial backing this event received to support the continuing work of the John Wayne Cancer Institute, perhaps someday “imagination” will be transformed in reality.