Phil and Cheryl Yagoda were desperate for information after their son Ian was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The little research and money dedicated to childhood brain cancer led them to found Ian’s Friends Foundation.
The foundation is dedicated to educating and raising money for childhood brain tumor research. Its fifth annual fundraiser, Evening of Inspiration, will be Saturday.
“It’s basically a night that’s supposed to inspire people and educate people on what these children and their families are going through,” said Phil Yagoda. “Brain cancer is the number one cause of childhood death after accidental deaths.”
Tickets to the gala include dinner and live entertainment. One performer is brain tumor survivor Ben Yellin, who will play piano and sing alongside local musician Matt Kabus, according to Marla Hoppenfeld, an event organizer.
Last year, Atlanta-formed rock band Collective Soul played at the gala, and there will be other musical surprises this year, said Yagoda.
Several businesses have donated trips and goods for live and silent auctions including journeys to a private ski resort at Yellowstone National Park, a week in the Bahamas, golf experiences with professional players, dinners from restaurant chefs at Aria and other Atlanta restaurants and watches donated by the event’s main sponsor Audemars Piguet.
This year’s honoree, or lifetime achievement award winner, is Doug Hertz, who is being lauded for his work with the nonprofit.
“He’s someone who truly does something for the foundation,” said Phil Yagoda. “Someone who’s really made a difference.”
Phil Yagoda said he hoped for about 500 attendees this year.
So far, the foundation has raised more than $2 million for pediatric brain tumor research and is currently funding eight laboratories at five institutions, including Weill Cornell Medical College, Children’s Healthcare of Los Angeles and NYU Langone Medical Center.
Emory University School of Medicine, Georgia Tech and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, all partly funded by the foundation, are making huge strides in research by doing three things: pinpointing and delineating the tumor for accurate removal during surgery, banding the tumor to limit its growth and using nano-technology to deliver chemotherapy to invasive tumors.
“It’s just a really great cause for a group of people that are a part of a community who need your help,” said Phil Yagoda.
If you go:
o What: Evening of Inspiration
o When: Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
o Where: Loews Hotel, 1065 Peachtree St., Midtown
o Cost: $250
o Benefits: Ian’s Friends Foundation for pediatric brain cancer research
o Information: www.iansfriendsfoundation.com