Wine Celebration Supports 9/11 First Responders Struggling with Cancer

The V Foundation Wine Celebration fundraiser in Napa County, Calif., raised funds for 9/11 first responders with cancer.

Nearly 11 years after the attacks of 9/11, we are seeing continued loss of life as first responders succumb to cancer and other health problems tied to their rescue efforts, it was announced.

According to a release, at The V Foundation Wine Celebration fundraiser on August 4, the auction lot was Fund-A-Need, which honored these first responders. V Foundation CEO Nick Valvano introduced the Fund-A-Need and acknowledged the dozens of men and women in uniform surrounding the room, Napa County’s first responders, who received a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd.

After a video showing images from that fateful day accompanied by a stirring rendition of God Bless America sung by the “singing policeman,” New York City cop Daniel Rodriguez, bidders honored these heroes by uniting to donate more than $800,000 to support a collaborative effort between the Fire Department of the City of New York WTC Health Program, Montefiore Medical Center, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and the National Cancer Institute.

Nearly 100 guests donated to the Fund-A-Need, auction lot #11, with Michael and Carole Marks, followed by Tracy and Lou Ann O’Rourke kicking it off by pledging $100,000 each.

Many first responders being diagnosed with rare cancers at a relatively young age had no prior health issues of family history of cancer. The New York City Fire Department produced a study of 13,000 firefighters published in The Lancet. The study followed firefighters’ cancer rates in the first seven years following the attack, and found that those who served at the scene have experienced a 19 percent increase in all cancers compared with those who did not work at Ground Zero. Last December, NYPD union officials reported that 263 city officers who had worked at Ground Zero had cancer, and 45 had died.

“We acknowledge the heroes who rushed to Ground Zero in the hours and days after the attacks of 9/11 who are now sick, and pay tribute to the noble men and women who rose to the defense of America in a time of war,” said V Foundation Chairman Bob Lloyd. “They risked their lives for us and they need to know that they inspire us to work tirelessly to try to save their lives.”

As cancer trends are increasing nationwide, The V Foundation for Cancer Research is supporting the effort to prolong lives through the prediction and treatment of the disease. The V Foundation’s signature fundraising event, The 14th annual V Wine Celebration, attracted attendees from all over the U.S. to the Napa Valley August 3 and 4 for a gala weekend of events and activities with a serious underlying purpose – to benefit the foundation’s efforts to support significant cancer research at major institutions and research centers nationwide. Attendees at this year’s gathering contributed nearly $4 million for cancer research.

The 15th anniversary of the V Foundation Wine Celebration will be held August 2 and 3, 2013.

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