The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation is an international pioneering cancer research organization. The Foundation’s focus is to reprogram cancer cells to deliver tailored, minimally toxic treatments to patients. Unlike other organizations, the Waxman Foundation supports novel treatments for many different cancer indications. Through its Institute Without Walls, a collaborative group of world-class scientists, investigators share information to speed the pace of cancer research.

Since its inception in 1976, the Foundation has awarded more than $75 million to support the work of more than 175 researchers across three continents. Dr Samuel Waxman, the founder of the Foundation, has dedicated his professional life to developing minimally toxic therapies to improve the lives of cancer survivors.  In other words, Dr. Waxman and his Foundation are absolutely awesome!

The event was held at the Park Avenue Armory. It consisted of cocktails, a dinner, a live auction, and a concert featuring Kid Rock. Although I only attended the cocktails segment, I can familiarize you with some of the items which were being auctioned: Kid Rock’s autographed guitar ($25,000), a seven-night stay for the winner and her entourage at Ian Flemming’s Villa in Jamaica ($120,000), a five-night stay aboard a private yacht ($150,000), and a golf outing at the Hampton Hills Country Club for thirty-six people ($20,000). Okay, so these items were just slightly outside of my daily experience and price range.  But I could really relate to the chance to bid on “the cutest guy in the room.”  More about my very close encounter with him (which ensued while my husband looked on) later.

The Armory was replete with a literal army of staff members. Six waiters holding drink trays and attired in white French-inspired long waist aprons lined each side of the entrance to the cavernous event space. Fourteen bar tenders stood behind each of the two long bar tables positioned at right angles to each other and emblazoned with a blue neon base.  I did not have to wait for my drink! Arrows pointed in a positive upward direction were located behind the bars. Tall round tables draped in gray cloth and decorated with gray candles encased in glass holders adorned the room. My favorite hors d’oeuvres: sushi platters consisting of tuna, salmon and white fish; pot stickers; spicy tuna balls served in ice cream cones; and vegetable dumplings.

The evening absolutely went to the dogs when I stepped outside of the main event space in preparation to leave. I am not being negative; I mean that according to my experience, the evening REALLY went to the dogs.  Why? Well, the explanation involves the aforementioned cutest guy in the room. I saw him lying on his back in the vestibule licking the two young women who surrounded him. Since he was so irresistible, I joined the fray. He licked me too!—and my husband did not at all mind. The time has come to call in the items to be auctioned brochure to provide an explanation: “No, he’s not sitting at the next table, and if you’re really lucky you’ll take home the most adorable Yellow Lab puppy you’ve ever seen.”  He was, in fact, the cutest puppy that I have ever seen. I mean, we’re talkin’ the Justin Bieber of puppies.

My evening of cavorting with cute canines had not yet ended. Two very affable (and very cute) guys were holding leashed adult yellow labs who looked like they could be the puppy’s parents. Even though I of course know that one should not approach security guys accompanied by dogs, I asked if I could pet them (the dogs, not the guys).  I found out that I had just asked a lot of detailed questions about bomb sniffing dogs guarding an armory!  Thankfully, the security guys believed that I was who I was: a mere yenta-esque dog lover accompanied by an impatient husband who thought it was time to go out.

I look back upon a wonderful evening while picturing that adorable little yellow cutest guy in the room presently ensconced within his great new home.

– Marleen Barr

The event’s guests included Dr. Samuel Waxman, Director and Founder of The Samuel Waxman Cancer Research
Foundation, Michael Nierenberg, Board Chair of SWCRF, Dr. Ethan Dmitrovsky, Associate Scientific Director of SWCRF, Dr. Jonathan Licht, Associate Scientific Director of SWCRF, Gwen Darien, Executive Director of SWCRF, J. Jay Mautner, Vice President of SWCRF, Gary Jacob, Vice President of SWCRF,David Taub, Vice President of SWCRF, Dena Weiner, Vice President of SWCRF, Laurie Schaffran, Secretary of SWCRF, Tom Conway, Treasure ofSWCRF, Musa Mayer, Board Member of SWCRF, Clifford Greenberg, Board Member of SWCRF, Frank Rauscher, Scientist of SWCRF, Courtney C. Booth, Auctioneer of Sotheby’s, Michael Burkhardt, Board Member 0f Voices Against Brain Cancer, Reuben Mark, Former Chairman and CEO of Colgate-Palmolive Company, Nate Nesbit, Soul Artist Management Supermodel, Marcus Hill, Soul Artist Management Supermodel, Jean Shafiroff, Co-Chair of New York Women’s Foundation’s 25th Anniversary.

Photos by Paul Bruinooge of Patrick McMullan Company