Thursday, December 03, 2015

New York Evening Hours with Lieba Nesis

Michael Milken's 2015 Prostate Cancer Foundation Dinner

All photos Lieba Nesis
Click images for full size views

The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) hosted its annual dinner at The Pierre Hotel on Wednesday December 2nd with cocktails beginning at 6pm. PCF is an organization which is committed to identifying and funding groundbreaking cancer research programs to save millions of lives.  Since its founding in 1993, it has raised more than $615 million and provided funding to more than 200 cancer centers and universities.

Michael Milken and Larry Kaiser
head of Temple University's Health System

This year was in honor of the 20th season partnership between PCF and major league baseball. However, this evening really is about one man named Michael Milken-a prostate cancer survivor who founded this organization and continues to spearhead efforts to find a cure for cancer.

Neil Rodin and Scott Minerd

Milken is an incredible powerhouse on Wall Street and his friends showed up in droves to pay homage to this financial giant. This evening contained a lot of Wall Street bigwigs including: John Paulson, Jerry Cohen, Ray Chambers, Fred Wilpon, Neil Rodin, Scott Minerd, Dr. Richard Merkin and Stewart Rahr.

Lisa and John O'Hurley

The dinner was hosted by John O'Hurley and Whoopi Goldberg. O'Hurley was a spectacular master of ceremonies and gave the dinner one hundred percent even singing a song about baseball. He is exactly like his J. Peterman character on Seinfeld and even bought the clothing line. He is also a dog lover mentioning canines about fifty times and recently hosting the Annual National Dog Show on NBC, which was watched by 26 million people.

Whoopi Goldberg and John O'Hurley

Whoopi Goldberg, showed up for about five minutes made some jokes about how Milken still doesn't understand that she has no prostate and said on a video she was a PCF dinner survivor.


Moguls being awarded baseball jerseys

In contrast, an enthusiastic Milken, who is an incredible force of nature, gave the audience a quick quiz and then called up some of his mogul friends to receive baseball jerseys including Fred Wilpon, and Jerry Cohen with Milken commenting if "any of you buy a baseball team in the next year you can also come on stage" to roaring laughter.

Lieba Nesis and Tommy Lasorda

Milken then posed with baseball legends Tommy Lasorda, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa and gave them an opportunity to discuss their own charities. Torre, the former manager of the Mets, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999, spoke movingly about how his father physically abused his mother and the negative effect it had on his adolescence.

Joe Torre

To aid others in similar situations he and his wife Alice, who is one of 16 children, decided to create the charity "Safe At Home" which has provided a safe haven for over 50,000 youngsters struggling in abusive homes. Another baseball hero, Tony La Russa, then discussed his charity which rescues animals and uses animals to assist war veterans, battered wives and the like. These serious speeches then gave way to some levity with the tenor group Forte singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" and "O Sole Mio."

John Paulson

In an ode to Philadelphia, where the event is usually held, Ed Rendell, the former Governor of Pennsylvania, introduced the night's honoree, executive VP of Comcast, David Cohen, who discussed his own battle with an early detected prostate cancer and how he was living proof of the value of the leadership of Milken. The need for medicine to think outside the box was reiterated by O'Hurley who recalled his sister's death at the age of 17 from epilepsy.

Mark Hedstrom, Bonnie Pfeifer Evans and JC

Moreover, one of the keys to eradicating cancer lies in the sequencing of genomes and medical pioneer, Jonathan Simons, a leader in prostate cancer research, spoke of the gains being made in "precision medicine" whereby you can know which patient needs which medicine at what time calling this "the finish line" in the race to cure cancer.

Ariel Hach and Stewart Rahr

After all these pivotal speeches, it was time for business with Milken asking people to sponsor cancer researchers/investigators for $75,000 a year for three years, eventually raising enough money to go from 173 to 205 investigators.

John Fogerty performing

Unsurprisingly, Milken knew the names of all of the bidders since these were his friends coming to support him and his cause. Then a live auction was held where Milken only permitted 90 seconds for the items to be sold which included a private plane trip to attend the 6 biggest sports events in the US with four tickets selling for a paltry $180,000.

David Yurman dancing with wife Sybil

The evening concluded perfectly with rock legend John Fogerty, accompanied by his guitar playing son, singing his heart out to the delight of the audience. David Yurman, the jewelry mogul, got up to dance with his wife Sybil, with the enthusiasm of a twenty-year-old eventually convincing Milken to do the same. The dinner ended at 11:15pm way past the bedtime of most "wolves"; but when Michael Milken is involved in the equation the sky is the limit.





- Lieba Nesis




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