Asbestos Cancer Benefit

Los Angeles, CA - Feb. 12, 2007 - The Pacific Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (PHLBI) raised an astounding $250,000 for asbestos cancer research at an exciting benefit concert on Saturday, February 10, 2007. Several guests headlined the event, including Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter Chris Botti and his stellar band. Warren Zevon's son, Jordan Zevon warmed up the crowd with his own latest hits and his father's classic, "Werewolves of London."

Joining the musicians was Barbara McQueen who signed stacks of her latest book "The Last Mile." She spoke very candidly with many of the guests about her time with Steve McQueen and gave her blessings to the doctors, lawyers, and activists who make a difference in the lives of mesothelioma patients and their families every day.

Floyd Landis, winner of the 2006 Tour de France, championed the event, too, speaking about the need to fund mesothelioma research.

Over 350 guests attended the concert and dinner at Roger and Ann Worthington's beautiful seaside home in Capistrano Beach, California. Everyone was thoroughly entertained from the dazzling musical entertainment, stories of Steve McQueen and outbidding each other in the auction.

PHLBI is grateful that so many guests were able to attend! Some drove down from northern California while others flew from across the country (Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kansas, Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, and Washington, just to name a few)! As promised, the evening was truly magical.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Punch Worthington Research Laboratory, a division of the PHLBI. PHLBI will now be able to fund exciting new research to expand treatment options for mesothelioma patients.

Mesothelioma kills 3,000 to 4,000 Americans each year. On a global scale, the numbers are in the tens of thousands, and will only get worse because asbestos makers continue to produce and ship their deadly products overseas. In the U.S., mesothelioma receives pennies relative to more "established" cancers. In comparison, cervical cancer, which also afflicts about 3,000 women annually receives $71 million in research dollars from the National Cancer Institute alone. Those research dollars have reaped an enormous benefit for women over the past four decades--cervical cancer, once the leading cause of death among women, is now susceptible to early detection and treatment. It is no longer a death sentence.

Mesothelioma receives only a few million each year, and those dollars have only come recently, as mesothelioma patients, researchers, and advocates have demanded more attention to this lethal illness. Lagging decades behind research for other cancers, the need for more research is acute. The significance of PHLBI's fundraising event, taken in context of overall funding for mesothelioma, is great indeed


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Roger Worthington is proud to represent each of these courageous mesothelioma survivors. They are proven advocates, warriors and gentlemen. Taking the fight to mesothelioma, these three men have waged an unstinting battle in their efforts to generate support for the cause. Unwilling to take "no" for an answer, determined to push the limits, they have made an incredible impact on public awareness of the disease. Having suffered first-hand the ravages of this disease, their strength and fortitude made an impression at all who attended the benefit concert.

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Mike Harris, Paul Zygielbaum, and Jordon Zevon

Mike Harris attended the benefit in honor of his mother, Barbara, who is currently battling mesothelioma. Barbara is a legendary real estate in Los Angeles who was part of the original "LA Boomers" who helped develop the city in the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Barbara took on an unfriendly health insurer, conventional wisdom, and limited treatment options to demand, seek, and find the best mesothelioma care available. Unsurprisingly, she ended up with the best of the best--Dr. Robert Cameron of UCLA. Mesothelioma survivor Paul Zygielbaum who was diagnosed with mesothelioma three years ago, continues to beat the odds even as he beats up on the notion that mesothelioma always wins. A noted spokesman for increased funding and research, Paul's presence inspired many at the event. Jordan Zevon performed one of his most moving songs, "Your Home is My Heart," a tribute to his parents. Jordan's father Warren succumbed to mesothelioma in 2003. Known as the legendary R-B rocker who wrote "Werewolves of London," Warren also wrote a profoundly moving song about the illness that took him down. Jordan's performance of this powerful piece brought down the house.

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Dr. Eric Vallieres, Dr. Christine Lee and Roger Worthington

Dr. Eric Vallieres is a thoracic surgeon at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Vallieres supports a trimodal approach for his mesothelioma patients, a combination of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. An advocate and supporter of mesothelioma research, Dr. Vallieres is one of the only mesothelioma experts in the Pacific Northwest. He has helped countless patients through the ordeal they face when they are diagnosed with mesothelioma

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(l to r) Sal and Mariana Lampasona, Dr. Robert Cameron, and Carina Castrege

Carina Castrege was eager to learn about PHLBI's new mesothelioma research. She lost her father to mesothelioma two years ago. She is joined by her sister and brother-in-law, Mariana and Sal Lampasona. Carina says, "It is truly a blessing to know that there are people like Dr. Robert Cameron who are committed in finding treatments that give us hope for the future. My family is truly thankful for everyone's hard work and dedication to such a wonderful cause." Dr. Cameron, a board member of PHLBI and a member of its scientific advisory board, has done much to help people afflicted with this disease. His experience with pleurectomy / decortication is unsurpassed, and he remains a working, operating warrior on the front lines of mesothelioma treatment

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Floyd Landis 2006 Tour De France Winner (center)

Cycling enthusiasts Margaret and Greg Leibert were excited to talk with 2006 Tour de France Champion, Floyd Landis who made a guest appearance. Floyd is well acquainted with tough battles, from the steepest climbs of Alpe d'Huez to the assault he's now facing from unsubstantiated, false accusations being made against his victory last year in France. A friendly, open, and decent man, PHLBI was proud to have Landis attend this signature event.

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mesothelioma asbestos

Chris Botti

You had to be there to believe it. Chris and his band put on a pull-out-the-stops, jam-like-you-mean-it, full-on, full-throttle performance the likes of which Capistrano Beach will never witness again. It was raw, it was smooth, it was tough love, it was silky sweet, it was careful rendition and it was damn-the-torpedoes improve from start to all-to-soon finish. After the concert the guests were in awe of this titan, this musical genius, this horn-hound and his band of virtuosos. Chris played a fitting tribute to the men and women who have died from mesothelioma the moment he picked up his trumpet and began to let the river flow. Every note was a high note of respect, every phrase was a call for courage, every breath was defiance and challenge. After the concert, Chris's fans lined up to shake his hand, share a few words, and get their photo taken with this titan of jazz.

Jordon Zevon

You got to live it to love it. That's the message Jordan left us with as he went through renditions of hall-of-fame tunes, soulful ballads, introspective songs, wry commentary, and songs of tribute. The evening was permeated by the love and loss that the guests felt towards those they know afflicted with mesothelioma, and Jordan's music was as primal and from-the-heart as you can. He celebrated his father with every word, and he made the listeners feel his loss as well as his love. When Jordan closed out with "Werewolves of London," the crowd went wild. What a night.

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mesothelioma asbestos

Roger and Barbara McQueen

Barbara McQueen had a story to tell as well. This pretty, insightful, and incredibly talented photographer shared works with the guests that have been part of her life for more than 25 years. Her powerful photographs told of her love for Steve McQueen and told the story of Steve's own battle with mesothelioma. All of Barbara's books were signed and snatched up by eager guests, and Barbara herself shared a moving tribute on the stage.

(back row) Dr. Robert Cameron (Scientific Advisor), John Caron (President), and John Markovich (Director)
(front row) Terry Lynch and Roger Worthington (PHLBI Directors)

Continued Giving
PHLBI hopes that all who were able to attend had a wonderful night. Please feel free to share your thoughts and pictures with us by contacting Jessica Like. And if you were unable to make a donation at the benefit, please feel free to make your gift online or make your check payable to "Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute" and mail to 11818 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 200, Los Angles, California 90025.

*** POSTED FEBRUARY 15, 2007 ***