Supporting Hope

Gala at Blackberry raises funds for Cancer awareness

The American Cancer Society says its mission is to create a world with more birthdays, so it was befitting that the organization raised money with a dinner party complete with cupcakes.

Over 100 supporters of the ACS gathered for the fourth annual Hope Gala at Blackberry Farm on Aug. 7. Chairs of the Blount County event were Carl and Gail VanHoozier.

According to the Associate Vice President for the state of Tennessee at ACS, Jenny Stripling, the event raised $115,000. She said the funds will be used to “help ACS save lives from cancer through the implementation of programs and services we provide at no cost to cancer patients and their families.”

Several ACS corporate sponsors, business and philanthropic leaders came together for the event, which featured a gourmet dinner and auction.

“It’s the food that makes this event so wonderful,” Stripling said. The dinner was prepared by Blackberry Farm, which also donated vacation packages for the auction.

Stripling said ACS has contributed to a 15 percent decrease in the overall cancer death rate over the last 15 years, which has avoided approximately 650,000 cancer deaths. She said the number is representative of survivors who were diagnosed and treated in the early stages of cancer. “This does not have to be a death sentence.”

The Hope Gala, said Stripling, was not just a fundraiser but a way to celebrate those 650,000 birthdays.

For more information about the American Cancer Society and upcoming events, visit their website at

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