Karmanos Cancer’s Partners Night 2019 to Honor LaFontaine Family, Take Place at Historic State Savings Bank in Detroit

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit will host its Partners Night 2019 on Friday, Sept. 20 at the historic State Savings Bank in downtown Detroit. The 26-year-old tradition recognizes research excellence and raises funds to help advance cancer research.
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LaFontaine family
Karmanos Cancer’s Partners Night 2019 will honor the LaFontaine family for its contributions to cancer research through its nonprofit, U Can-cer Vive. // Photo courtesy of the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute

The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit will host its Partners Night 2019 on Friday, Sept. 20 at the historic State Savings Bank in downtown Detroit. The 26-year-old tradition recognizes research excellence and raises funds to help advance cancer research.

Since its inception, partners events have raised more than $16.7 million to advance cancer research. The event will include a cocktail and hors d’oeuvre reception, entertainment, a raffle, a silent auction, a program, a strolling dinner, dessert, and dancing.

This year, the institute and the Partners Committee are recognizing the LaFontaine family for its contributions to cancer research.

“We continue to be inspired by our patients and those who generously support cancer research to help save lives,” says Dr. Gerold Bepler, president and CEO of Karmanos Cancer Institute. “No one demonstrates that commitment of paying-it-forward more than the LaFontaine family. Their passion, generosity, and example of engaging others to help end this disease is nothing short of incredible. We are truly honored to recognize the LaFontaine family at this year’s partners event.”

The family founded LaFontaine Automotive Group in 1980, and its nonprofit, the U Can-cer Vive Foundation, has raised more than $2 million since it was established in 2016 by siblings Ryan and Kelley LaFontaine. The nonprofit provides funding and support for local cancer research grants. Operated entirely by volunteers, all of the nonprofit’s proceeds go to helping those fighting the disease.

“We are so honored and humbled to be recognized by Karmanos and the Partners Committee at this year’s partners fundraiser,” says Kelley LaFontaine. “Everyone, in one way or another, has been or will be touched by cancer. Many people want to help but often feel they alone can’t make a difference.

“We began U Can-cer Vive to unite and engage the community to help support cancer research. We’re so proud to partner with Karmanos Cancer Institute’s team of experts who share the same mission and vision of a world free of cancer. We hope everyone will reach in their hearts and pockets to support this worthy cause and the outstanding work of Karmanos. Every dollar raised today will impact cancer outcomes in the future.”

Proceeds from this year’s event will support work led by Kay-Uwe Wagner, leader of the Tumor Biology and Microenvironment Program at Karmanos and professor of basic science at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. Wagner and his team are developing a Tumor Organ Donation Program that will study the cellular and molecular processes that drive the initiation and metastatic progression of cancer cells through their interaction with healthy cells in an organ.

The information gained will impact research pertaining to the spread of cancer cells and provide researchers with access to diverse cancer specimens.

Tickets to the event are $175 per person and $95 per person for guests ages 21-30. They can be purchased here or at the door. To secure reservations or learn about sponsorship opportunities, call (313) 576-8106, email kearneym@karmanos.org, or visit the link above.

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