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City of Hope Spirit of Life Award Dinner Raises Over $1.5 Million for Cancer and Diabetes Research

Furniture World News


City of Hope’s International Home Furnishings Industry honored four industry icons at the annual Spirit of Life Award dinner on April 7 during High Point Market: Larry Klaben, president and CEO of Morris Furniture Company, Surya Tiwari, founder of Surya, Satya Tiwari, president of Surya, and Irv Blumkin and the Blumkin Family of Nebraska Furniture Mart. Blumkin was presented with The Spirit of Life Lifetime Achievement Award.

“It has been yet another remarkable year,” said Spirit of Life dinner chair, Kevin O’Connor. “It’s an honor working with so many great leaders in the furniture industry to help raise money for City of Hope.”

Funds raised will support cancer and diabetes research and treatment efforts at City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

“I am humbled to share this honor with the Blumkin family, a furniture industry icon, and Surya and Satya Tiwari, fast and thriving leaders in the industry,” Klaben said. “Congratulations to you and your families. This is why I love our furniture industry. We’re going beyond making and selling products. We strive to make the world a better place.”

Satya Tiwari said, “My father and I are so grateful for this honor and are proud to lend our support to City of Hope. This is an amazing institution that’s on the pursuit to cure cancer and diabetes and are changing lives all over the world.”

Blumkin, chairman and CEO of Nebraska Furniture Mart added, “Tonight we celebrate the incredible work City of Hope is doing and the camaraderie, respect and partnership we share with everyone in the room. Our family is so thankful for this honor. It’s especially exciting to be honored alongside Larry Klaben and Surya and Satya Tiwari.”

In addition to the awards ceremony, the program included remarks by Linda Malkas, Ph.D., professor and associate chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and the M.T. & B.A. Ahmadinia Professor in Molecular Oncology at City of Hope. Malkas had spoken at the dinner five years ago. Last night she provided an update on the work she is doing at City of Hope and her phase 1 clinical trial. Support from industries like the International Home Furnishings Industry allows Malkas and physician-scientists like her to propel their work forward.

City of Hope’s president and CEO Robert W. Stone also recognized the generous $2 million gift from Samuel Kuo and Grace Liu of Samson Holding Ltd. to advance the pioneering liver cancer research of Yuman Fong, M.D., The Sangiacomo Family Chair in Surgical Oncology. Kuo, Liu and Samson Holding Ltd. have been supporting City of Hope for nearly 20 years.

“What an amazing night. It’s truly inspiring to see so many of us from the industry gather together to not only support the honorees but also to continue to support City of Hope,” added Chuck Reilly, senior vice president at AICO and City of Hope’s national chair. “Over the last 54 years, through events, special initiatives and transformational partnerships, our industry has contributed nearly $100 million to research at City of Hope, providing vital funding to clinical researchers and hope and healing to patients everywhere.”

About City of Hope’s International Home Furnishings Industry: The International Home Furnishings Industry (IHFI) chapter was formed in 1965 as one of City of Hope’s first industry-based chapters. Led by dedicated industry and community leaders, this group encompasses every related industry segment: retailers, manufacturers, sales representatives, suppliers and associated service providers.

The IHFI is one of City of Hope’s premier fundraising groups, having raised over $97 million to fund innovative medical research and quality patient care at City of Hope.

Each year, the IHFI begins a new fundraising campaign led by its two flagship events, The Spirit of Life Award Dinner held during April Market in High Point, North Carolina and the West Coast Golf and Tennis Tournament held each June in Coto de Caza, California. These events spearhead the annual fundraising efforts; however, many industry companies partner with City of Hope to raise additional funds with amazing success. Across the country, retailers offer charitable sales events donating a percentage of their sales, manufacturers create specialty products or lines benefiting City of Hope, and industry executives and employees create fun and unique local fundraisers. For more information, visit CityofHope.org/ihfi


About City of Hope: City of Hope is an independent biomedical research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a leader in bone marrow transplantation and immunotherapy such as CAR T cell therapy. City of Hope’s translational research and personalized treatment protocols advance care throughout the world. Human synthetic insulin and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs are based on technology developed at the institution. A National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, City of Hope is ranked one of America's "Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Its main campus is located near Los Angeles, with additional locations throughout Southern California. For more information, visit www.cityofhope.org.

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