- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 18, 2008

There’s not a whole lot that can strike a group of well-heeled Washingtonians dumb — read mute — but that happened at the Prevent Cancer Foundation Ball Friday night when the curtains parted at the National Building Museum and the 850 guests got their first glimpse of where they were to dine.

“It’s just awesome, as the young people say,” said Alice Konze, a longtime supporter and cancer survivor who was there with her husband, Lt. Col. William Konze, a World War II veteran.

They joined Sen. Patrick J. Leahy; Reps. Norm Dicks andEdward Whitfield; Frank andMarcia Carlucci; Teresa(Mrs. Dale)Earnhardt; Chief of Protocol Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, and Prevent Cancer Foundation president and founder Carolyn R. Aldige amid a festive scene that transformed Montgomery Meigs’ vast red barn of a building into an intimate and exotic setting complete with silky tents, massed roses and soft lighting.

This year’s Turkish theme was the creation of famed designer David Tutera (a foundation board member and one of the event co-chairmen) who worked closely with Fatma Gulgun Sensoy, wife of Turkish Ambassador Nabi Sensoy, to bring country-specific keynotes into his concept for the space.

It soon became clear that just about everyone present had been touched by cancer in some way, either directly or through the illness of a family member.

“It’s very personal,” said co-chairwoman Brenda Becker, whose husband has been battling the disease. “And it’s a challenge we’ve had to handle as a family.” The equal-opportunity nature of the illness, as well as its far-reaching effects, meant that the room was filled with a broad spectrum of guests. Even the attire, from ball gowns to little black dresses, was diverse.

Since its founding in 1985, the Prevent Cancer Foundation (formerly known as the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation) has raised $104 million toward cancer research, education and outreach programs.

“We want to focus on organizations that are truly making a difference,” said Kathleen Sullivan Hare, director of health care policy for Wal-Mart, the evening’s underwriter.

“It’s such an important cause and such a special group,” said Marsha Glazer, a longtime volunteer who was circulating to sell raffle tickets. Later, Rep.Jim McGovern announced the winners. Top prize? What else but a trip to Istanbul.

Lisa Rauschart

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