Each spring, more than 500 people attend the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary’s largest gala fundraiser, the Odyssey Ball. This year’s event was held at the at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA and raised more than $700,000 to benefit the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in support of Cancer Research.
The auxiliary honors and celebrates members of the community and their efforts in the fight against cancer with “The Duke” Special Service Award and the “True Grit” Humanitarian Award.
This year internationally recognized medical oncologist Steven J. O’Day, MD, was honored with the “The Duke” Special Service Award. Steven is a Professor of Medical Oncology, Director of Immuno-Oncology and Director of Clinical Research at the John Wayne Cancer Institute. He is recognized as one of the preeminent melanoma specialists in the world. He provides expert clinical care while incorporating teaching and leading clinical research and has been at the forefront of new drug development in melanomas over the last two decades.
“It gives us great pleasure to celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of Dr. O’Day and his commitment to our mission,” said Patrick Wayne, chairman of the board at the Institute and son of the legendary actor John Wayne. “His worldwide collaborations and dedication to advance knowledge of melanoma cancer research and treatment embody all that ‘The Duke’ Special Service Award symbolizes.”
Multi-award-winning actor, producer and screenwriter Vince Vaughn received the “True Grit” Humanitarian Award. Vaughn dominated the screen in such hits as Wedding Crashers, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and, most recently, the Oscar nominated Hacksaw Ridge as well as True Detective, but Mr. Vaughn’s philanthropic work was honored with organizations ranging from Special Olympics to his ongoing dedication to working with veterans.
“The ‘True Grit’ Award was established to recognize individuals who embody the American values that were characteristic of John Wayne,” said Anita Swift, Auxiliary president and granddaughter of John Wayne. “We are honored to celebrate Vince Vaughn for his generosity, commitment and support of America’s servicemen and women.”