The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a top-rated cancer research charity, announces the fourth annual Virginia Vine event raised more than $475,000 to help achieve Victory Over Cancer®. The sold-out gala was held at Stone Tower Winery on April 28 and was hosted by Joe Theismann, former quarterback of the Super Bowl XVII Champion Washington Redskins, with honored guest and featured speaker Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer and co-founder of Connor’s Cure. The funds raised will support Virginia’s world-class cancer research institutions, as well as groundbreaking research projects across the country.
“I was amazed at the love and support for Connor’s Cure at the V Foundation’s Virginia Vine event,” said McMahon. “Our focus continues to be on advancing research and saving the lives of children facing cancer. I’m so proud to team up with the V Foundation to help make a difference.”
Throughout the evening, the Virginia Vine gala showcased outstanding wine, culinary delights and one-of-a-kind auction items. A cocktail reception was followed by a seated dinner with Stone Tower Winery wine parings. Theismann, Susan Braun, CEO of the V Foundation, and George Bodenheimer, V Foundation Board Member and former President of ESPN, welcomed supporters. McMahon emphasized how pediatric cancer research is transforming the world of cancer as we know it, and she shared her personal connection to Connor Michalek, who passed away from cancer at the age of eight. McMahon was honored with the Spirit of Jimmy V Award, which is awarded to inspirational individuals using their voice to raise awareness and funding for cancer research. The night continued with a live auction, which boasted one-of-a-kind items and lively bidding, including a fund-a-need in honor of Connor’s Cure. Items included an MLB All-Star Game & Home Run Derby package, a Dinner Party with Mary Matalin & James Carville and an Ultimate WWE SummerSlam Weekend Package.
“It’s an honor to participate in Virginia Vine for the V Foundation. It was such a beautiful evening at Stone Tower Winery, and everyone was so generous,” said Theismann. “Each and every guest was committed to the same cause – ending cancer. I firmly believe we will defeat it in our lifetime. Watching the proceeds of this event fund more and more research is exciting.”
To reinforce the urgency and momentum behind research today, the V Foundation held a Cancer Research Symposium at the Salamander Resort & Spa. Joseph Moore, M.D., Medical Director of the Duke Raleigh Cancer Center and Professor of Hematology and Oncology at Duke Cancer Center, hosted the symposium. Each of the Virginia Vine mission partners – Inova Schar Cancer Institute, University of Virginia Health System Cancer Center and Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center – will receive a mission grant. The V Foundation will also fund competitive team science research in Virginia. Net proceeds over and above these grants will fund research projects nationwide. A scientist from each research center participated in the symposium, sharing specifics on the important work happening in the Commonwealth, including cellular immunotherapy (CAR T cell) for pediatric cancers and rational targeted therapy combinations for personalized cancer care.
“Virginia Vine began as a small event that has now grown into a celebration of Virginia wines and extraordinary philanthropy,” said Braun. “Kristi and Mike Huber at Stone Tower Winery were gracious hosts; Joe Theismann inspired enthusiasm and generosity in the audience; and Steph McMahon helped us laugh, think and cry in her eloquent and elegant fashion. Together, with outstanding research presentations that brought an infusion of hope, each piece of the event came together to highlight the V Foundation’s quest to end cancer and our motto, “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”®.