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Photography by Peggy O’Donnell

On Sunday, August 19, 180 guests joined event co-chairs Todd Ament, and Carolyn Carpenter, for the third annual Celebration of Life Gala to support the American Cancer Society’s fight for a world with less cancer at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton in Anaheim. The event successfully netted $75,000.

“Our community proved their commitment in the fight against cancer by supporting this year’s theme: Putting Hope into Action by raising funds to support the Society’s mission to fight for every birthday, threatened by every cancer, in every community,” said co-chair Todd Ament.

The evening began with a special performance by American Idol finalist of season 10, Casey Abrams, a singer and multi-instrumentalist. During his performance, guests bid on an array of donated silent auction prizes. Also in attendance as guests of Honorary Chairman, John McEntee, were American Idol finalists Ace Young of season five and his fiancée, Diana Degarmo, of season three.

The celebration moved into the beautifully adorned Tuscany Ballroom where KTLA 5 News Anchor, Micah Ohlman, began the evening program as master of ceremonies. For dinner, guests enjoyed slow roasted top sirloin with mushroom demo and herb roasted chicken breast with lemon caper cream and roasted red potatoes and green beans amandine.

At this year’s gala, the American Cancer Society honored CEO and President of St. Jude Medical Center, Lee Penrose. In Penrose’s speech, he thanked those involved in the treatment and care of cancer patients and reminded guests of the importance in continuing to invest in saving lives from cancer.

In honor of celebration of life, the evening program also included some laughter with a comedic performance by actor and producer Bruce Fine who debuted as auctioneer for the live auction that included: the “Play Ball!” opening announcement with four field level tickets and VIP parking to a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim home game in 2013 donated by Dennis Kuhl of Angels Baseball; a gorgeous ladies stainless steel and diamond bezel watch donated by Corum; and, an acrobatic ride on an “Extra 300” plane donated by Mike Montgomery.

The co-chairs were supported by Gala Committee members: Shari Cipolla, Ulla Herman, Mindy Inselberg, Beverly Nihei, Tony Smale and Gail Taylor, an Honorary Committee comprised of 19 members, and Honorary Chairmen: Dennis Kuhl, John McEntee, and Keith Nelson.

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, the Society fights for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, American Cancer Society has helped more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it, culminating into many more birthday celebrations across the United States each year.