Sylvester’s 20th Anniversary Gala Raises Record $1.3 Million

Nearly 600 party-goers streamed into the JW Marriott Marquis Miami and Hotel Beaux Arts in downtown Miami for the 20th Anniversary Gala Celebration of UHealth’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center on Saturday evening, December 8. The spectacular party raised a record total of more than $1.3 million for research and care at Sylvester.

Gala guests enjoyed a reception with a luxury silent auction, dinner, a stunning performance by two-time Tony Award-winner Sutton Foster, and an after party with DJ Irie.

“Every donor and every gift may mean a healthier and longer life for a cancer patient,” said Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., who became Director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center six months ago, after spending nearly 20 years at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Guests arrived from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to support research at Sylvester, increase cancer awareness and raise funds for the only academic-based cancer center in South Florida. Sylvester, part of UHealth at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, represents the most advanced approach to cancer care in the region, melding research with clinical trials, and the latest technological innovations. The gala is one of the primary fundraisers supporting Sylvester’s mission of providing the most comprehensive and compassionate care to all patients.

Speaking to the crowd, UM President Donna E. Shalala said Sylvester provides “a shared mission of hope and healing” to those facing cancer, and declared the evening “a celebration of community.”

Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., expressed his gratitude to the patients and their families who have entrusted their care to Sylvester physicians and nurses, praising their “steadfast courage.” He added that Sylvester’s “strong academic backbone is the key to its tremendous success as the best cancer research and care resource in the region.”

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Caroline W. Halpern Award for exemplary service to The Harcourt M. and Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation and Stuart A. Miller, and the Jay Weiss Award to W. Jarrard Goodwin, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Sylvester/UMHC —University of Miami Hospital and Clinics.

The fundraising event was part of Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami.

The Masters of Ceremonies for the evening were Maria Celeste Arrarás, host and managing editor of “Al Rojo Vivo con Maria Celeste,” produced by Telemundo/NBC, and Raul de Molina, co-host of “El Gordo y la Flaca,” produced by Univision. De Molina, a cancer survivor, said he “understands how important it is to be able to receive world-class treatment in our community.”

Following Foster’s performance, the guests were entertained late into the night by DJ Irie, the official Miami Heat DJ.

This year’s gala was planned by a committee of community leaders including the event chair, Jennifer Stearns Buttrick, of counsel at Stearns, Weaver, Miller, Weissler, Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. Buttrick’s dedication comes from a very personal experience. Having recovered from successful treatment for a renal tumor discovered two days after she delivered her third child, Buttrick says she is “living proof of the expertise and compassion that Sylvester physicians provide.”

A gallery of photos from the event can be viewed online.


Jennifer Stearns Buttrick (Chair), Jenny Bielawski, Monika Blaya, Adam Carlin, Markia Colt, Fredi Consolo, Diana Delgado, Mike Farra, Nelly Farra, Alison Feiler, Denny Feinsilver, Austin Gaines, Stephanie Gaines, Kim Gerber, Gail Gidney, Teresa Haskett, Barbara Havenick, Barbara Weiss Havenick, JoAnn Hildebrandt, Elsie Howard, Tracy Leveillee, Jayne Malfitano, Jamie McKinney Rusk, Georgia Nimer, Laurie Nuell, Jennifer Olmedo-Rodriguez, Helen Picard, Alexis Rivera, Kim Sarkisian, Amy Scharlin, Joan Scheiner, Lily Serviansky, Kara Sharp, Eric Silver, Peggy Silver, Lyle Stern, Florencia Tabeni, Morgan Theodore, Vivian Urbieta.


Grand Gala Chair – The Harcourt M. & Virginia W. Sylvester Foundation; Host Sponsor – JW Marriott Marquis Miami and Hotel Beaux Arts Miami; Anniversary Sponsor – Stuart A. Miller, Stearns Weaver Miller Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A.; Platinum Sponsor – Roni & Sam Jacobson Family Foundation, Urbieta Family Fund/Vivian & Ignacio Urbieta; Gold Sponsor – American Airlines, Chanin & Adam Carlin, Roberta & Harvey Chaplin, Chico’s, Magic City Casino/Barbara Havenick & Family; Silver Sponsors – Abbot Downing, Audio Visual Services, Ruby Bacardi, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney LLP, The Buttrick Family, Denny & Paul Feinsilver/FMSbonds, Inc., Judy & Bernard Fogel, M.D., Doree & Malcolm Fromberg, Sharon & W. Jarrard Goodwin, M.D., Kaufman, Rossin & Co., Ladenburg Thalmann & Co., Inc., Landstar Development Group, The Miami Herald, Joan & J. David Scheiner/Macy’s, Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLP, Perry Ellis International, Lily & Joseph Rosenblatt, M.D., Joan & Joseph Sbarro, Judy & John Schulte and Lily & David Serviansky, Southern Wine & Spirits of America; Bronze Sponsor – Shiraz Events, University of Miami Advancement Services, University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.

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