American Cancer Society presents several awards at Directors Dinner

The American Cancer Society awarded several distinguished awards to its corporate partners and volunteers at the Board of Directors Annual Dinner on Dec. 10 at Grove Isle Hotel and Spa.

More than 50 guests were in attendance to celebrate the achievements of the Dade Unit of the American Cancer Society for the year. Ralph Aleman, Dade Unit Operating Board chair, and Steve Smith, Dade Unit Fiscal Compliance Officer, announced the accomplishments and gave out the notable awards.

Twenty Relay for Life events raised almost $1.2 million for the fight against cancer. Relay for Life of East Kendall was highlighted because it became the No. 3 Relay in the state of Florida. Baptist Health South Florida received the Above and Beyond Award because it played an important role in that accomplishment.

Relay for Life certainly is the premier program supported by Baptist Health South Florida. Baptist Hospital, Homestead Hospital and West Kendall Baptist Hospital serve as home sites for three Relays with all expenses related to each one of the Relays fully underwritten by the healthcare system. This represents tens of thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society.

The annual Gala had record-breaking attendance with over 800 guests, and raised over $600,000.

Madeleine Munilla received the Gala Volunteer of the Year Award. Munilla chaired the 2013 Gala and not only surpassed the goal but led one of the best gala’s in American Cancer Society history to mark the Centennial Anniversary of the organization.

Munilla also was an honoree recently in 2013’s Inner Circle of Twelve Luncheon, which honored 12 philanthropic ladies for their accomplishments in the community. The Inner Circle of Twelve Luncheon also was better than ever, raising $112,000 with over 500 guests in attendance.

Marile and Jorge Luis Lopez were awarded the Laureate Society Member of the Year Award. As chairs in the inaugural year of the Laureate Society of Miami, they launched the best Laureate Society in the state by exceeding their member goal by 25 percent.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer took place in November at Marlins Park with approximately 5,000 people in attendance and raised almost $300,000.

The Top Corporate Partner Award was given to Pasteur Medical. Under the leadership of president and CEO Gerry Necuze, Pasteur Medical, along with his other companies, CNN Latino and Medical City, came in strong by becoming a top sponsor and having a very large team and presence at the walk.

The Largest Corporate Team Award was given to Miccosukee Resort and Gaming, which also was a new team this year and raised over $25,000 for the fight against breast cancer.

Two Community Partner Awards were given to Marlins Park for hosting the walk and always supporting the mission of the American Cancer Society and the other to Miami-Dade County.

The American Cancer Society’s partnership with the county far exceeds one person, all county personnel support and have adopted Making Strides Against Breast Cancer as their cause contributing over $50,000 to the walk. Without a doubt, they are the largest Making Strides Against Breast Cancer team. Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the Board of County Commissioners are also outstanding partners and supporters of all activities and programs of the American Cancer Society and CPS-3.

Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS-3) was the final program highlighted that evening. The American Cancer Society actively recruited over 300,000 participants nationwide for this newest large-scale study. CPS-3 is an epidemiology research program that will serve as one of the largest and most important studies of cancer causes and prevention worldwide. The Dade Unit couldn’t have made their goal without the help of the champions. Donna Lundy, PhD, of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center; Lisa Trebbi and Christie Grays of Baptist Health South Florida, and Joseph Roisman of Perry Ellis International were all awarded the Outstanding Champion Award.

The Community Champion Award was given to Baptist Health South Florida, Perry Ellis International, and Temple Beth Shalom who all excelled as a CPS-3 Enrollment Host Site. Each one also exceeded its enrollment goal.

Finally, the Dade Unit Volunteer of the Year award was given to Lourdes Valls for everything she has done for the American Cancer Society. Lourdes was chair of the 2012 Gala, honorary chair for the 2013 Gala and now chair for the 2014 Gala. In addition, Lourdes is a longtime board member and a founding member of the Laureate Society of Miami.

For more information on the American Cancer Society and its programs and services, contact Carmen Piles, senior representative, Community Engagement, at 305-779- 2861 or

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