At the Oct. 6 fundraiser on the DreamWorks lot at Universal Studios are, from left: actor Beau Bridges; Amy Lee, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Keck School of Medicine; Inderbir S. Gill, professor and chair of the Department of Urology at the Keck School; and actor William Hurt.
HSC Weekly 2012-11-09
Changing Lives fundraiser nets $1 million for USC cancer research
By Imelda Valenzuela Fowler
He had just been diagnosed with kidney cancer. At age 36, with a wife and two small daughters, he was told he had a large tumor on his left kidney and that the entire kidney would have to be removed.
And then he met Inderbir S. Gill, professor and chair of the Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology and founding executive director of the USC Institute of Urology.
“I was still scared, but I was suddenly more confident and not helpless and not alone,” Small told a crowd of about 250 at the Changing Lives Creating Cures fundraiser held on the DreamWorks lot at Universal Studios Oct. 6.
The event raised over $1 million in support of urologic cancer and robotics research at the USC Institute of Urology.
“My team and I are confident and committed that we can rapidly translate tonight’s generosity into tomorrow’s cures,” said Gill, “to give our patients the priceless gift of time and hope.”
USC President C. L. Max Nikias also addressed the audience. “The Keck Medical Center of USC is built on innovation, and one of the cornerstones of innovation in our medical enterprise is the USC Institute of Urology,” he said. “This vital institute has quickly emerged as a leader in diagnosing and treating all urological disorders. And I’m equally proud that it has become a groundbreaking pioneer of procedures once thought impossible. From developing a bloodless approach to removing kidney cancer to outpatient prostate removal, it is a place where the extraordinary has become ordinary.”
Nikias said the innovations have brought the institute national acclaim as well as a dramatic increase in patient volume.
“We are truly grateful to have so many partners join us in our mission to support innovation in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of urologic cancer,” said Keck School of Medicine of USC Dean Carmen A. Puliafito. “Your support helps us to serve our patients, allowing them to live longer and more robust lives. Make no mistake we are working towards a cure.”
Singer, dancer and actor Matthew Morrison, who plays a leading role in the television series “Glee,” provided the evening’s entertainment. Also in attendance were actors Beau Bridges, William Hurt and Octavia Spencer, as well as U.S. Rep. Judy Chu, California State Controller John Chiang and California State Assemblymember Michael Eng.
As he told his personal story, Small mentioned his age at diagnosis, noting that the average age of someone who has been diagnosed with kidney cancer is 64, not 36. Small is a nonsmoker, living a healthy lifestyle with no history of cancer in his family. “Apparently, cancer does not discriminate,” he said.
“Two and a half weeks after I found myself in despair, I went into surgery. Five hours later I was out and so was my tumor. Eighty percent of my left kidney remained. Recovery was to come, but I would eventually receive the news I’d been waiting for: 36 years old, 1.8 kidneys, cancer-free and not helpless.”
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