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Television Actor Who Has Portrayed a Doctor and an Investigator Lends Support to Fundraiser for the Toughest Children's Cancer

NEW YORK, May 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Melina Kanakaredes portrayed a doctor in her hit show, Providence. On CSI: NY she's a relentless investigator. So it's fitting she serve as mistress of ceremonies for the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation 6th Annual Dream & Promise Gala that raises funds to support medical investigation into one of the toughest and most challenging children's cancer; brain and spinal cord tumors. The Gala will take place tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square in New York City.

The Gala this year honors three individuals who have made substantive contributions to children facing medical challenges. Dr. Larry Kun will receive the Pioneer Award for Pediatric Radiation Oncology to honor his efforts at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Dr. Thomas Koestler, Executive Vice President, Schering-Plough Corporation and President of the Schering-Plough Research Institute, along with Peter M. Kash, Chairman of Two River Group Holding, LLC will also be recognized. Dr. Koestler guides the strategic direction of product development programs and oversees the movement of projects through the discovery, development, registration and launch phases at Schering-Plough. Mr. Kash sits on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations, including Keren-Or, which supports blind and multi-handicapped children.

Speaking about his award, Dr. Kun remarked, "I am delighted to participate in the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation Benefit, recognizing the central role the CBTF has played in both national advocacy and support for research in childhood brain tumors. I am truly honored by the Foundation's recognition and look forward to joining those who have committed considerable time and effort in promoting the goals of the CBTF."

Stuart Essig, CEO and President of Integra LifeSciences and last year's corporate honoree comments, "I am honored to be a co-chair of the Foundation's 2008 Gala and am very proud of the support that Integra LifeSciences, the Integra Foundation, and my family give to the Foundation's fight against pediatric brain cancer. Pediatric brain cancer is a deadly disease, and Integra invests over $25 million in research that we hope will improve the lives of these young patients."

Brain and spinal cord tumors in children are significantly more deadly to their victims than many other childhood cancers. What's more, treatment with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation can result in significant late effects ranging from cognitive impairment to physical challenges to social isolation. In addition, research is stymied by varieties of brain and spinal cord tumors and the challenges of collecting tumor samples from children.

The 6th Annual Dream & Promise Gala, produced by Charlotte Simon Productions, is the signature fundraising event for Children's Brain Tumor Foundation. Funds raised support the organization's program and education efforts including its new Survivorship Program and helps fund research to advance treatment and progress toward cures. This year's Gala will raise nearly $1 million.

The Children's Brain Tumor Foundation (CBTF) was founded in 1988 by a group of parents, physicians and friends to improve the treatment, quality of life, and the long term outlook for children with brain and spinal cord tumors through research support, education, and advocacy to families and survivors. Our goal is to ensure parents and children know they are not alone in their struggle.

Now in our 20th year, we serve children and families nationwide affected by brain and spinal cord tumors. We provide support to families in the form of information and delivered online and via our toll-free line by professional pediatric oncology social workers. We help parents network with other parents via our Parent-2-Parent Network (P2P). We deliver hundreds of P2P Bags containing valuable information and support products. We also fund research to speed treatment and cures both nationally and internationally. Within the last year CBTF created the only national Survivor Program specifically for childhood brain tumor survivors.

Please visit our website at

SOURCE Children's Brain Tumor Foundation
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