ISRAEL CANCER RESEARCH FUND
Honoring Scientists In America
Helps Fund Cure For Cancer
Story and Photos by Tim Boxer
DON’T understand it,” said Ben Brafman, the celebrated powerhouse attorney. “I come to a kosher dinner for Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) and the highest bid in the silent auction is for the Soprano Family Cook Book.”
Between the laughs and the dancing, the organization’s Tower of Hope Ball at the Pierre Hotel last Sunday earned big bucks for cancer research in Israel.
Brooklyn’s Gloria and Harvey Kaylie announced a million-dollar gift for scientists in Israel to search for a cure for the scourge.
In introducing Kaylie – who’s in the electronics business with dealings with the Defense Department – Brafman, the master of ceremonies, said he was told nothing about the man. Everything’s a secret.
“In my business,” the criminal defense lawyer noted, “that means you’re in organized crime.”
Another high profile contribution came from Kenneth Goodman, head of Forest Laboratories. Even though his pharmaceutical company produced all kinds of pills, there was nothing they had that could help his wife Barbara, who suffered from pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Yashar Hirshaut, ICRF president and clinical associate professor of medicine at Weill-Cornell Medical College-New York Hospital, led the effort by doctors in New York and Paris to save her life.
Goodman said he was quite impressed by Hirshaut’s knowledge, commitment and passion. “We were not impressed by the endless waiting in his office to get to see him,” he added in jest.
Hirshaut dedicated himself to helping Barbara fight the disease, often visiting her at one in the morning.
Last June Barbara lost her battle. She was 51.
Goodman came back to Hirshaut’s office bearing a check for $700,000 to create an endowment in his wife’s name to enable Israeli scientists find a cure for pancreatic cancer.
At the dinner Hirshaut honored two pioneers in clinical cancer research. One was Dr. Arthur Sawitsky, who helped develop the criteria for chronic lumphocytic leukemia used by physicians to plan the treatment of this disease.
The other honoree was “the godfather of vaccine,” Dr. Maurice Hilleman, reputed to have created more vaccines than any other person. His output includes vaccines for hepatitis A and B, measles, mumps and rubella.
That prompted my wife Nina to remember when our Gabriel came home from nursery school with the chicken pox. She got it from him, and so did our younger son David.
“If he comes home from school and gives me the measles,” she declared, “that’s it! He’s up for adoption!”