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St. Louis gala raises nearly $1.5M

World Wide Technology, Ameren, and the Cardinals announce employee fundraising initiatives to support the renovation of Hope Lodge St. Louis

On Nov. 3, the American Cancer Society in St. Louis hosted its third annual Champions of Hope Gala, led by the Society’s CEOs Against Cancer® of Missouri - St. Louis chapter, presented by the Centene Charitable Foundation, and chaired by Michael and Noémi Neidorff. 

Nearly 350 St. Louisans showed their generosity, donating nearly $1.5 million to help the Society save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer.

The 2018 Champions of Hope Gala celebrated the Society’s Hope Lodge in St. Louis — a facility offering cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment is in another city. 

Hope Lodge St. Louis has served tens of thousands of people since 1995. However, after 23 years of operations, the existing facility is showing signs of constant use. 

To improve guest and caregiver experience, keep pace with their needs, and provide a better quality of life during their stay, the Society recently launched a new capital campaign to fund the renovation and revitalization of the facility. 

Presenters provided a sneak peek of the campaign’s theme: Hope Is Home (at, which will help to raise awareness of the Lodge in the community. Then, World Wide Technology, Ameren, and the Cardinals announced the kickoff of employee fundraising initiatives, pledging all of the funds donated toward building and sustaining a new Hope Lodge St. Louis. 

Additionally, one-third of the funds raised at the gala ($600,000) will be earmarked for the facility. Combined with the nearly $5 million corporate partners raised already this fall, the Society has now reached a total of $5.5 million toward its overall capital campaign goal of $10 million.

“As St. Louisans, we are fortunate to have access to world-class cancer care right here in our backyard. Hope Lodge St. Louis allows us to share this with others. After all, cancer patients have many things to worry about, and where to stay shouldn’t be one of them,” said Jim Kavanaugh, CEO and co-founder of World Wide Technology, vice chair of the Society’s CEOs Against Cancer of Missouri - St. Louis chapter and capital campaign chairman.

Throughout the evening, the gala embraced two themes: pops of color and champions. As the only nonprofit working to combat all types of cancer, the Society featured “pops of color” throughout the event space to represent cancer awareness colors, including professional speed painter Tim Decker. The “champions” theme was brought to life via the evening’s guest speaker and emcee, Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton, pictured in the middle in the photo above, and with the Reedys in the smaller image. A motivational speaker, champion, and cancer survivor, Hamilton embodied the entertaining and uplifting spirit of the event.

The event also honored two partners for their distinguished service and leadership in the community. The Society gave World Wide Technology the Corporate Mission Hero Award for its support of Society events and initiatives, both locally and across the country for many years. John Tavis, PhD, professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, was honored with the Individual Mission Hero Award for his long-time commitment to the Society and cancer research.

Finally, event organizers announced the chair and date for next year's event. The 2019 Champions of Hope Gala will take place on November 9, 2019, and will be chaired by Peter Blumeyer, UMB St. Louis president and CEO.

Since its inaugural year in 2016, the Champions of Hope Gala has become a premier event in St. Louis while raising more than $4 million to attack cancer from all angles. To learn more about the event, visit

PHOTOS: North Region staff are pictured with our CEO Gary Reedy. In the smaller image, Gary and Cindy Reedy are with gala emcee Scott Hamilton, an Olympic gold medalist in figure skating, a former CBS skating commentator for many years, and a cancer survivor.

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