ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Lisa and Derek Ferguson, who will be honored during Thursday's Ohio Cancer Research Associates Grand Illusions dinner party, continue to express their commitment for the organization.
"Community responsibility is an integral part of our corporate philosophy, and we recognize the enormous service Ohio Cancer Research Associates provides for our neighbors through their research grants," said Derek. "All of our lives have been touched in some way by cancer and we feel our efforts are vital to continue funding research, which is making progress toward finding a cure."
The 20th-annual event will be held in Undo's West in the Hampton Inn. While organizers are expecting another sold-out event, Thomas G. Lamb, executive director of the organization, said there are still a few tables left.
"It is a testimony to the generosity of the Ohio Valley that for the past two decades the Grand Illusions Saute has been the top money-making gala for Ohio Cancer Research Associates," said Lamb. "We are very grateful to Derek and Lisa for lending their support and generosity."
Established in 1982, Ohio Cancer Research Associates is an independent, statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to the cure and prevention of the many forms of cancer and the reduction of its debilitating effects through aggressive basic seed money research, cancer information, and awareness.
"One exciting research project we are funding has developed a cream which has proven in preliminary testing to diminish melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer, accounting for only 4 percent of all skin cancer cases but for 80 percent of all skin cancer-related deaths," Lamb explained. "The number of melanoma cases worldwide is increasing faster than that of any other type of cancer with an estimated doubling of melanoma incidence every 10-20 years.
"While early detection of primary lesions is associated with a favorable prognosis, the five-year survival rate of patients with metastasis is less than 10 percent." Lamb added. "This is just one of the many research projects which are showing promise toward finding a real cure, not just for skin cancer, but all forms of cancer,"
The Ferguson's have announced their picks for "saute chefs," or speakers, for the event. First listed to take to the podium is a high school classmate and college roommate of Derek's, Jefferson County Commissioner Tom Gentile. Some family members also are expected to speak, including Lisa's cousin, Debbie Helmick. The couple's two sons, Ronnie and Bobby Ferguson, also are expected to have a turn at the podium to gently roast their parents. A speaker who may turn up the heat on the event and transform it into a full blown roast will be Lisa Poole. A former Miss Ohio competitor who works for D&L Ferguson LLC as manager of the Carnation City Mall in Alliance, Poole indicated at the kick-off luncheon that her saute would be memorable.
"Lisa and I are both honored to be chosen and look forward to some good-natured fun," Ferguson added. "We encourage other Ohio Valley residents to add their voices as contributors to this most worthy organization."
The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a reception. Dinner follows at 7 p.m. and the program is scheduled to start at 8 p.m.
Regular tickets are $125 each, and patron tickets (which include a program listing) are $200. Corporate tables are available. To order tickets, contact the Ohio Cancer Research Associates office at (800) 232-6272.