Nearly 600 people came to show their gratitude to two breast cancer visionaries, Tuesday night, April 17, at the Universal City Hilton.
Philanthropist Henrietta C. Lee and surgeon Melvin J. Silverstein, M.D., were honored at the prestigious Norman Topping Dinner sponsored by the USC/Norris Cancer Research Associates.
The black-tie dinner was a star-studded event as the honorees were joined by actress Barbara Eden, former-network medical correspondent Art Ulene, USC President Steven B. Sample and Peter Jones, director of the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The evening began with brief testimonials offered by patients of Silverstein. A video then offered a tribute to Silverstein, Lee and the Harold E. and Henrietta C. Lee Breast Center that the two made possible. The evening was capped off by a performance from Pete Escovedo and his Orchestra, with his daughter, Sheila E., on drums.
USC’s largest annual fundraising event, the Topping Dinner began in 1983 and has raised more than $8 million for cancer research. This year’s event brought in more than $1 million for USC/Norris.
Silverstein, professor of surgery and director of the Lee Breast Center, pioneered the current comprehensive standard of care for breast cancer and was the first to design and build a freestanding breast center. He holds the Henrietta C. Lee Chair in Breast Cancer Research and was honored for his contributions to the field of breast cancer, USC/Norris and the community.
Lee was honored for her contributions to the cancer center and the community. In 1997, she donated $5.3 million to USC/Norris to establish the Harold E. and Henrietta C. Lee Breast Center. Because of her gift, USC/Norris has been able to meet the needs of thousands of breast cancer patients and provide centralized care for everything from initial diagnosis and treatment to reconstruction and genetic counseling. Her gift also supports Silverstein’s research efforts, as well as endowing a chair in basic science research.