Celebrities Paint Masks for Mesothelioma Fundraising Event

unMASKing the Cure for Cancer Gala

The goal of the Pacific Mesothelioma Center is to be the most innovative nonprofit research and cancer treatment organization in the world.

Its latest fundraising event is a perfect example.

As part of the Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, the Pacific Mesothelioma Center will play a major role in the unMASKing the Cure for Cancer Gala, an innovative fundraising idea once used by Prince Charles more than 20 years ago.

The Nov. 21 event, held at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center, includes the auctioning of eclectic masks that were hand-painted by various celebrities, including actors, artists, athletes and musicians.

The goal is to raise more than $200,000 for the research of mesothelioma and other cancers.

The Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute has been doing a myriad of fundraising events the last two decades, but never anything like this.

Mark Hamill, Dwayne Johnson Among Contributors

The event will include live and silent auctions of more than 25 celebrity-painted masks. Many were invited to contribute by actor Jamie Foxx, an early supporter of the cause.

Celebrity painters for the unMASKing the Cure for Cancer Gala include:

  • Mark Hamill (actor; “Star Wars” films)
  • Sir Anthony Hopkins (actor and director; “Silence of the Lambs”)
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (wrestler and actor; “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”)
  • Eileen Davidson (actress, “Days of Our Lives”)
  • Sugar Ray Leonard (former boxing world champion)
  • Pat Boone (legendary singer)
  • Michelle Stafford (actress, “The Young and the Restless”)

Musical entertainment at the event will include Leonard, Coleman and Blunt, former lead singers of The Temptations, The Platters and The Drifters.

“This event will be different, even unique in lot of ways,” said Clare Cameron, executive director of the Pacific Mesothelioma Center. “It’s going to be so much fun and really help us raise awareness to what we do.”

PMC is the only 501 (C) (3) nonprofit medical facility in the U.S. that does its own in-house research for mesothelioma. Its ultimate goal is uncovering the elusive cure for this rare and aggressive cancer typically caused by exposure to asbestos.

“Fundraising is so vitally important to making progress with this disease. Without it, the doors would close,” Cameron said. “It allows us to do what we do.”

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Mesenchymal Stem Cell Research Is Key

One of PMC’s most exciting projects today involves novel mesenchymal stem cell research. While already being used to treat some autoimmune diseases, it is being studied today as a potential vehicle to carry gene and molecular therapies directly to mesothelioma tumor sites.

The strategy has the potential to increase survival and eliminate much of today’s standard-of-care treatment that includes chemotherapy and its powerful side effects.

Early research has shown mesenchymal stem cells could be utilized as an adjuvant to surgery, eliminating the microscopic tumor cells that often evade the surgeon.

The therapy is being studied with some types of lung cancer, along with coronary and cardiac diseases.

Dr. Robert Cameron (no relation to Clare Cameron), will be honored at the gala for his work as scientific advisor to the PMC.

His dedication to working with this disease has been virtually unmatched.

Robert Cameron is chief of thoracic surgery at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center and professor of cardiothoracic surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

He also has been a pioneer for more than two decades in developing the lung-sparing pleurectomy and decortication surgery that has changed the way mesothelioma is treated today.

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Senior Content Writer

Tim Povtak is an award-winning writer with more than 30 years of reporting national and international news. His specialty is interviewing top mesothelioma specialists and researchers, reporting the latest news at mesothelioma cancer centers and talking with survivors and caregivers.

2 Cited Article Sources

  1. Pacific Heart Lung & Blood Institute. (n.d.). unMASKing the Cure for Cancer Gala.
    Retrieved from: https://www.auctria.com/Az/8028ea4a-6924-45a0-a9c2-b91c07973236/Event/Index
  2. Pacific Mesothelioma Center. (n.d.). Pacific Mesothelioma Center. Retrieved from: https://www.phlbi.org/pacific-mesothelioma-center/

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