American Cancer Society Reveals Honorees for Upcoming Gala

The American Cancer Society 2013 Kick Off Reception for the San Gabriel Valley held at the iPic Theatre on Thursday April 11, 2013.Mark Surdam, Lola Warlick-Bryant, Lucille Leong, MD, Debbie Herrman,and Dr. Robert Morgen, oncologist at City of HopePeggy York, Judge Lance Ito, and Lola Worlick-BryantReyna DelHaro of Kaiser Permanente with the Named Honorees from City of Hope: Dr. Lucille Leong and Dr. Robert MorgenVolunteer Vera Chu and Distinguished Events Director Pam BradyCancer survivor Paul RuizSteve Riboli, Sindee Riboli, Deborah Kay Sanchez, Anthony Sanchez, Patrick Brennan, and Police Chief Phillip SanchezCindy Ruiz, productions event chair, Carmen Cho-Surdam, event co-chair, Debbie Herrman, event committee memberGerald Freeny with his mother Charlie Freeny and daughter Erica McDanielCarmen Choy-Surdam, event co-chair, Reyna DelHaro of Kaiser Permanente, and Deborah Kay Sanchez, Ambassador ChairArdra Grubbs and Charlie Freeny, the mother of Gerald Freeny who was named an Honoree.Gary Pia, South Pasadena City Treasurer, Phillip Sanchez, chief of Police, Anthony Sanchez

Article and Photography by RACHEL YOUNG

5:48 am | April 12, 2013

At the American Cancer Society 2013 Kick Off Reception for the San Gabriel Valley held at the iPic Theatre on Thursday April 11, the event chairs introduced the Honorees for this year’s gala event.

The recognized honorees are the City of Hope as the Medical Honoree, Gerald Freeny as the Community Honoree, and Majestic Realty Foundation as the Philanthropic Honoree.

“Each year we honor heroes in our community. Our honorees are the perfect examples of those heroes,” event chair Cindy Ruiz said.

How appropriate that the American Cancer Society as the official sponsor of birthdays would sing happy birthday to Gerald Freeny, celebrating his 53rd birthday, before introducing him as an honoree.

Honorees from 2012 Pasadena Chief of Police Phillip Sanchez and Deborah Kay Sanchez had the honors of introducing Gerald Freeny as the Community Honoree for his work with youth in the community, and his several other involvements. Celebrating his 53rd birthday at this event, with his mother and daughter to support him, is truly significant as he is a cancer survivor himself and is again currently battling cancer.

City of Hope received honoree status because of their leading education for cancer. They are saving millions of lives every year with their research, cutting edge patient care, and community outreach.

At the kickoff Deborah Sanchez introduced all the volunteers who will make the event happen, including the board of ambassadors, the committee members, and the honorees. Several influential community members are on the Ambassador Committee including Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard, Reyna DelHaro of Kaiser Permanente, Chief Margaret York, Honorable Judge Lance Ito, Dr. Lucille Leong of City of Hope, Steve and Sindee Riboli, Mickey Segal, and several others.

“The Ambassador Committee is very important to us. They advocate for us and connect us to the community by spreading the word about the cancer society,”
Event Co-Chair Carmen Choy-Surdam said.

“Everyone here and involved with the society has been touched by cancer in some way,” Debbie Herrman said.

Cindy Ruiz, the event chair who has been fund raising for the Cancer Society for 13 years, joined the society when her husband was diagnosed and survived cancer.

“The kick-off event is an opportunity for us to start sharing about the upcoming gala and were exposing it to potential sponsors, potential attendees and its really about just getting the word out,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz continued, “In order for the American Cancer Society, a nonprofit, to fund programs for patients or research or to get the word out or educate individuals or even advocate for cancer programs or prevention programs it takes money.”

The fourth Annual American Cancer Society Distinguished Gala will be held September 21, 2013. At the Gala event in the society hopes to raise $125,000 through sponsorships, guests, auction items and other forms of giving.

“Together we can win this fight against cancer,” Deborah Kay Sanchez, ambassador chair said.

For more information on how to be a sponsor or join the American Cancer Society in the San Gabriel Valley in some form go to or call Pam Brady at 626-795-7774.