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Spring Gala raises $750,000 to aid WVU Cancer Institute

Watch a highlight video of the 2023 WVU Cancer Spring Gala

Dedicated supporters of the WVU Cancer Institute contributed over $750,000 to support cancer care, research, outreach, and more as this year’s Spring Gala celebrated nearly 40 years of history.

More than 375 people attended the signature fundraising event, held April 28-29 at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. This year’s theme, “Then and Now,” paid tribute to the event’s past and looked toward exciting future opportunities for the WVU Cancer Institute.

Proceeds from the event support the WVU Cancer Institute’s treatment, research, education, and service programs.

“We are so tremendously grateful for our loyal Gala supporters,” Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, M.D., director of the WVU Cancer Institute, Jean and Laurence DeLynn Chair of Oncology, and associate professor of surgery at the  WVU School of Medicine, said. “This event has grown from its inception in 1985 to become a cherished philanthropic tradition for generations of families touched by cancer. Their generosity is helping us save lives as we bring the latest advances in cancer care closer to home for West Virginians across the state and beyond.”

This year’s Gala festivities included live entertainment and fine food, along with educational activities that showcased the WVU Cancer Institute’s innovative work to lessen the cancer burden in and around West Virginia.

U.S. District Judge Frederick P. Stamp, Jr., and his wife, jewelry designer Joan Corson Stamp, were named the 2023 Betty Puskar Winged Victory Award recipients in recognition of their many years of dedication to the WVU Cancer Institute. Joan Corson Stamp has long served on the WVU Cancer Institute Leadership Council and is a former chair of the Gala.

The Gala program also included a special tribute to Aimee Underwood Thorn, who died of colon cancer in August 2022, at age 35. A lifelong lover of music, Underwood Thorn purposely scheduled her cancer treatments when music therapy was available at the WVU Cancer Institute. Her family has generously supported ongoing fundraising efforts to expand the program in her memory to provide a full-time music therapist to aid cancer patients at WVU.

Audrey Underwood, second from right, speaks about her late daughter Aimee Underwood Thorn, during a special tribute at the Spring Gala. Thorn died of cancer Aug. 15, 2022, at the age of 35.

Audrey Underwood, second from right, speaks about her late daughter Aimee Underwood Thorn, during a special tribute at the Spring Gala. Thorn died of cancer Aug. 15, 2022, at the age of 35. 

Gallery: 2023 WVU Cancer Spring Gala

The Spring Gala raises money to support the WVU Cancer Institute’s mission via ticket sales, a live auction, on-site donations, and more. Top-level sponsors who contributed to the success of the event include the Jeanne G. and Lawson W. Hamilton, Jr. Foundation, The Greenbrier, Carlton and Barbara Alexander McKinney, David and Kimberly Alvarez, the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust, Howard Hanna Premier Properties by Barbara Alexander, WVU Medicine, and WVU Medicine – Camden Clark.

The gala committee was led by chair Barbara Alexander McKinney. She received support from honorary chairs David and Kimberly Alvarez, along with Laurie Erickson, Deb Matthews, Sharon Rowe, and Matthew Veith.

“What an exciting opportunity to celebrate the Spring Gala’s origins and the bright future that lies ahead for the WVU Cancer Institute,” Alexander McKinney said. “I have treasured this event for many years, and I’m honored to build upon the traditions and memories of those who came before me. The Spring Gala is truly a special benefit that unites so many for a remarkable cause.”

Visit for more information about supporting the WVU Cancer Institute.

All gifts are made through the   WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.

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