Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation (SWCRF) relaunched its Millennial Society advocacy group for young professionals with “Celebrate Life!,” a festive happy hour at the Empire Hotel rooftop lounge on November 13. Nearly 100 guests attended the fun gathering in midtown, which was organized by the SWCRF’s new Millennial Society committee Amanda Aronson, Zachary Aronson, Bradley Fishel, Melissa Fishel, Sarah Nierenberg, Lauren Schumacher, Melanie Twomey and Joanna Wexler.

Attendees enjoyed a complimentary vodka bar and supported the SWCRF’s fundraising for cancer research by buying tickets for exciting sports-themed raffle prizes secured through Madison Square Garden by committee member Melanie Twomey. The prizes included a New York Fan Basket with New York Rangers and New York Knicks t-shirts, hats, memorabilia and an autographed Bernard King collector’s ball.

For hockey lovers, there was an official game puck signed by John Tavares, a Canadian professional ice hockey center who serves as captain for the New York Islanders of the NHL.  The hockey offerings included an official game puck – complete with an authentication card – signed by Mats Zuccarello, who plays for the New York Rangers and previously played for Modo Hockey in the Swedish Elite League. In 2010, he won the Guldhjälmen (Golden Helmet), which is awarded annually to the most valuable player in the Swedish Hockey League.

Basketball fans were excited to see the autographed Bernard King official basketball, also provided with an authentication card. Bernard King played 14 seasons with the New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and the Washington Bullets. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on September 8, 2013.

Guests were also treated to a complimentary tube of RAMY Sun Smooched! facial bronzer graciously donated by celebrated makeup artist Ramy Gafni, a cancer survivor whose coveted eye brow shaping makeover and lesson is included in the Charitybuzz online auction in support of the SWCRF’s December 4 Collaborating for a Cure Gala fundraiser.

The event was a labor of love for the Millennial Society committee members, many of whom have been personally affected by cancer

Vicki Shapiro and Melanie Twomey

“To me, cancer research means hope,” said Melanie Twomey, who is a cancer survivor. “It means that, while we are going about our lives, there is someone out there fighting for us, fighting for a cure.  Every one of us has either been affected or knows someone that is currently being affected by this horrible disease. Continuing research gives me the comfort in knowing that we are one day closer to a cure.”

 “Cancer research is an opportunity for me,” noted Bradley Fishel. “Prior to two years ago my exposure to cancer was limited to the distant memory of my grandmother and stories of my grandfather who also passed from cancer. After losing a painstaking battle with cancer, my closest friend Avi passed away, it took exactly one year. What does cancer research mean to me? It means getting us closer to preventing the tragedy of the unexpected loss of the people you care about the most.”

Molly Cohen and Bradley Fishel

“As a young adult, it is important that we understand cancer, in order to control and ultimately conquer this awful disease one day,” said Sarah Nierenberg. “Although cancer survival rates are improving, it is still crucial to increase support and funding in this battle. By supporting and encouraging cancer research, doctors and scientists will be able to tackle some of the biggest challenges that lie ahead, and will hopefully one day beat cancer.”

The Waxman Foundation extends its thanks to the guests, product donors and committee members who made this event happen. Stay tuned for news of future Millennial Society gatherings to come to support cancer research!

To view a gallery of photos from the event, click here.