Roswell Park Cancer Institute, located in Buffalo New York, was the nation’s first cancer research institute. It was founded in 1898 and has been a national and international leader in the fight against cancer.

One in five people are diagnosed with cancer and it’s a disease that not only affects the lives of those who are diagnosed, it affects the lives of their loved ones. The emotional and spiritual well-being of patients and their families is just as important as their physical state. The staff at Roswell Park Cancer Institute understands that being diagnosed with cancer can be an extremely difficult time for any family. From pastoral counseling and palliative care programs to lodging for families, Roswell takes fighting and treating cancer to the next level.

In 1989 the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, grew out of one mother’s wish to help others. Katherine Gioia, then four years old, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. While being treated at Roswell Park, Anne, her mother, began doing volunteer work in the newly created Development Department established to raise private sector financial support for Roswell. She came up with the idea of the Alliance, Roswell’s first community-wide volunteer organization, in memorial to Katherine, who lost her battle with cancer less than one year after being diagnosed. In 1991 the Alliance Foundation was formally established to manage all donations made and contributed for the benefit of Roswell Park. Since then over $243 million has been contributed to benefit the Institute’s research, education and patient care programs.

When I first moved to Buffalo, NY in 2004 I took a tour of Roswell Park as part of my effort to acclimate to a new area. I was moved by the warmth and peace that I felt upon entering Roswell’s door. The music that filled the air as I walked around was soothing and calming. I decided that day to volunteer for Roswell. I choose the pediatric unit. It was the hardest yet most rewarding experience of my life. Working with children, some terminally ill, trying to beat cancer was a learning experience for me. They, as well as all the patients at Roswell, are the embodiment of tough and stoic and taught me the meaning of sacrifice.

Roswell Park and the Alliance Foundation hold many fundraising events throughout the year. This year, Freed Maxick was honored to be a part of the “All Star Night” Gala benefiting Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The Buffalo Convention Center was the gracious host for the gala, which was turned into a wintery wonderland for the occasion. Soft lighting, jazz music, ethnic food stations, amazing door prizes, silver plating, and beautiful white foliage set the stage for a profoundly touching event.

Along with Freed Maxick Managing Director Ron Soluri Sr, and Freed Maxick Healthcare Directors Al Gracie, Ryan Grady and John Kropski, I found myself surrounded by devoted volunteers, staff, patrons, and cancer survivors who spoke of the tremendous benefits of the Alliance Foundation and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Our entire table was moved by the speeches and stories surrounding us and proud of the efforts and advancements that Roswell Park makes every day.

Remembering my volunteer year all over again, I was overwhelmed with emotion to see so many survivors and strangers come together for one cause- to eradicate cancer.

The benefits of the All Star’s Gala will help further treatment advances and future research programs. Freed Maxick is extremely proud to have been part of an amazing event for an amazing cause and I am honored to have been able to share in that experience.

If you would like further information on donating to Roswell Park, or getting involved in future events, please visit this link.