The Cancer Crusaders held their 12th annual “Celebration of Life Luncheon” on Thursday, September 13, at the New Orleans Marriot Hotel. The benefit honored 12 cancer survivors who are active in the community: Julie Ayers, Penny Banks, Gail Blazek, James E. Blazek, Patrick Browne, Maria Burkhardt, Dr. James Caridi, Linette Granen, Alex Klein, Elizabeth “Libby” Smith, Terri Smith and Jeannine B. Thibodaux.

A lattice trellis entrance and rainbow décor of brightly colored insects welcomed guests to the “Cancer Can’t Bug Us”-themed luncheon. New Orleans singer-songwriter Paul Sanchez, whose own wife is a breast cancer survivor, entertained the crowd of 700 cancer survivors and supporters.

The silent auction raised around $60,000; a mink and lynx fur coat and a Cocoa Beach condo were featured items. Attendees crossed their fingers on spectacular raffle prizes, including an elegant Konstantino bracelet and necklace set donated by Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry and Distinctive Gifts and a Southwest Airlines trip to Chicago.

Constance Albert, Cancer Crusaders liaison, led a champagne toast to the 12 honorees and to all cancer patients and survivors in the room. The poignant toast included a heartfelt reading of her poem, “Cancer Can’t Bug Me.”

All proceeds went to the LSU Health Sciences Center Foundation and the Tulane Cancer Center.

Debbie Buchler and Dawn Miller served as co-chairs to the event, and WWL-TV news anchor Angela Hill was the Mistress of Ceremonies.

Event at a Glance
What:  12th Annual Cancer Crusaders Celebration of Life Luncheon, benefiting the LSU and Tulane medical schools for cancer research
When: Thursday, September 13
Where: New Orleans Marriott Hotel