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32nd Annual Hutch Holiday Gala Raises Millions for Cancer Research

SEATTLE, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- A "challenge donation" appeal at last night's Hutch Holiday Gala helped push the total funds raised to more than $4.2 million for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The annual black-tie Gala is the largest fundraiser for the Hutchinson Center. The event took place from 5 p.m. until midnight at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel.

"Help the Hutch" is the portion of the live auction during which every dollar donated is matched by challenge donors. One of those donors was Susie Morganti of Bellevue, Wash., who lost her husband, Johnny, to cancer last summer after 73 years of marriage. Following Johnny's death, Susie decided to donate $500,000 in memory of her husband and a late niece, Jackie Bylund. Morganti, who yesterday celebrated her 95th birthday, said she was inspired by the prospect of leveraging more donations for cancer research.

"We were pleased to present the Hutch Holiday Gala challenge in honor of loved ones we've lost," said Gary Bylund, Morganti's nephew and family spokesperson. "In one way or another, most of us have experienced life changes because of cancer. The Hutch Holiday Gala is our opportunity to positively impact cancer research at the Center, and thereby the lives of our family and friends."

Dr. Lee Hartwell, president and director of the Hutchinson Center, said donations such as Morganti's are essential to help Center scientists make discoveries that improve the future of human health.

"We are so fortunate that our guests recognize the power of private support in the fight against cancer," Hartwell said. "Through the Hutch Holiday Gala, we partner with these generous families and others in the community to empower our science against cancer and other diseases."

Gala patrons also opened their pocketbooks for lavish live-auction packages such as dinner for 20 with the Hutchinson Center's three Nobel laureates, which sold for $26,000; a Lake Union cruise and scavenger hunt with four distinguished winemakers, which sold for $19,000; a VIP behind-the-scenes trip to the Indianapolis 500, which sold for $13,000; and an Alaskan king crab dinner prepared by Seattle chef Tom Douglas and attended by Capt. Sig Hansen of The Discovery Channel's reality show "Deadliest Catch," which sold for $20,000.

The evening's festivities included the presentation of the 2007 Distinguished Community Service Award to philanthropists and longtime Hutchinson Center supporters J. Orin Edson and his wife, Charlene A. Edson. "We are proud to help the Hutchinson Center in the quest to eradicate cancer," Mr. Edson said. "It is a difficult and expensive task that deserves support from all concerned individuals and businesses. The Hutchinson Center is a place with excellent leadership, exceptional facilities and the very best scientists to effect change against the sadness caused by cancer."

Presented by the Hutchinson Center's Grace Heffernan Arnold Guild and the Hutch Holiday Gala board of trustees, the Hutch Holiday Gala featured live and silent auctions, an elegant dinner and late-night dancing with more than 850 business and community leaders in attendance. Over the past three decades the Gala has raised more than $58 million in support of key research initiatives, patients, and family programs at the Hutchinson Center.

To learn more about the Hutch Holiday Gala, call (206) 667-5492 or visit More information about the Hutchinson Center is available at

At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. For more information, please visit


Christi Ball Loso

(206) 667-5215

SOURCE Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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