Guests at the Sanford-Burnham gala last Saturday marched, sang, and danced, swept along by the beat of generosity—and led by our own “music man,” Conrad Prebys. The evening’s theme, Marching Towards a Cure drew on elements of the classic Broadway musical The Music Man to make for an unforgettable evening.
Prebys, who co-chaired the gala along with partner Debbie Turner, has been one of the Institute’s most ardent supporters. His most notable gift was the one that named the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics, Sanford-Burnham’s outstanding drug discovery facility that spans two locations, one in La Jolla, California and the other in Lake Nona, Orlando, Florida. During the evening’s festivities he pledged $250,000 in support of the Institute.
Joining Conrad and Debbie as co-chairs were Blair Blum and Jim Sexton, and Sheila and Jeffrey Lipinsky. Life Technologies was the lead sponsor.
Guests arrived in a “town square” of the 1910s, greeting friends and posing for photos in a gazebo bedecked in red, white, and blue. The band then led guests inside where they heard from Institute CEO, John C. Reed, M.D., Ph.D., about how much Sanford-Burnham has accomplished—thanks, in large part, to philanthropists. The video below helped to illustrate for the guests just how much impact they could make:
During the “fund-a-need” portion of the event, guests were asked to raise their bidder paddles to give specified amounts. Paddles flew into the air furiously as guests expressed their fervent desire to see treatments and cures make their way ever more quickly to patients in need.
Rancho Santa Fe resident Charles “Skeets” Dunn delighted the crowd by announcing that he and his wife, Sharon, would bequest $500,000 to Sanford-Burnham in honor of Dr. Reed. All told, it was a great night for medical research, especially at a time when federal funding is growing increasingly scarce.
Guests were treated to a rousing musical performance by Andy Taylor, cast member of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Once, and Alet Taylor, formerly of the national tour of The Producers. Performing memorable hits from The Music Man, like “Seventy-six Trombones” and “Goodnight, My Someone,” they ensured that guests left humming happily, knowing they had made a difference.