Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

UM/Sylvester In The Garden Gala Raises More Than $1.25 Million For Cancer Research


The University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center raised more than $1.25 million to benefit cancer research at the December 9th “In the Garden of Dreams” biennial gala at the exclusive Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida.

The sold-out crowd of more than 900 of South Florida’s most generous philanthropists and community leaders joined Grand Gala Chairs Constance and Mike Fernandez, Honorary Chairs Doree & Malcolm Fromberg, Legacy Chair Allan Shore, Gala Chairs Fredi Consolo, Gail Gidney, and Elsie Sterling Howard, and 2006 Caroline W. Halpern Award recipients Denny and Paul Feinsilver in the UM/Sylvester major cancer research fundraising initiative.

The ballroom was transformed into a mystical garden complete with elegant butterflies and dancers as the Ruby Baker Orchestra kept guests on their feet. The fantastic luxury silent auction, spectacularly chaired by Peggy Silver and JoAnn Hildebrandt, featured more than 150 luxurious items; especially popular were the “lifesaver wish list” items, which included both patient and research equipment for the cancer center. The auction raised nearly $200,000. NBC-6’s Tony Segreto emceed the live auction, which included a pair of $25,000 diamond chandelier earrings totaling 11.08kt, graciously donated by Mark and Robin Levinson of Levinson Jewelers in Plantation, the exclusive jeweler of the live auction, and a $25,000 “extraordinary evening” package of evening gowns and more from Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour. As in past galas, lavish favors (this year: gift certificates) were generously donated by Saks Fifth Avenue Bal Harbour. Another highlight of the evening was the raffle of a one-of-a-kind necklace created exclusively for this year’s gala by the jewelry world’s premier artist, Gala International Honorary Chairman, Barry Kieselstein-Cord who also designed and crafted the Founders pins for UM/Sylvester.

“Over two years of planning has reaped fabulous rewards for cancer research in Miami tonight,” said Gala Chair, Fredi Consolo. Other well-known civic and community leaders included Center Director W. Jarrad Goodwin, M.D., and Dean of the Miller School of Medicine Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D.; previous Gala Chairs Fran and Mel Harris, Cynthia Davis Carr, and Bob and Gloria Kolikof, and committee members: B and Don Carlin; Arlyn and Stephen Cypen, Peggy and Joseph Armaly, Selma and Jeff Newman, Susan and David Strauss, Joan and David Scheiner, Irma and Norman Braman, Roberta and Harvey Chaplin, and more. As co-chairs of the commemorative journal, Jennifer Kaplan and Sarah Harrelson crafted a truly beautiful book that highlights the best of UM/Sylvester, and raised more than $70,000. Corporate response to the event was greater than ever before and included Macys, Southern Wine and Spirits, FMS Bonds, Inc., Buchanon, Ingersol, PA, and Smith Barney. Traveling from Palm Beach County were Palm Beach County Chairs Jayne & Chris Malfitano, Jeanne & Richard Spring, and Barbara Pessel, President of the Pap Corps for Cancer Research.

Denny and Paul Feinsilver received the Caroline W. Halpern Award presented by Elsie Sterling Howard for their exemplary commitment to raising community support and dollars for our community’s only university-based cancer center. Both Denny and Paul have been instrumental in creating significant fundraising initiatives at UM/Sylvester, including helping to found Friends for Sylvester, Coupons for Cure, and the annual Sunday Supper Cultivation. The Feinsilvers are Grand Founders at UM/Sylvester, a select group of donors whose commitment exceeds $100,000.

Since the very first gala in 1992, Consolo, Silver, Gidney, and Howard have led the gala fundraising efforts, planning a fantastic evening every two years to increase awareness of the medical miracles happening at UM/Sylvester and to raise significant funds for research at our community’s premier cancer center.

UM/Sylvester was opened in 1992 to provide comprehensive cancer services and today serves as the hub for cancer-related research, diagnosis, and treatment at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. UM/Sylvester handles more than 1,400 inpatient admissions annually, performs 3,000 surgical procedures, and treats 3,000 new cancer patients. All UM/Sylvester physicians are on the faculty of the Miller School of Medicine, South Florida’s only academic medical center. In addition, UM/Sylvester physicians and scientists are engaged in more than 200 clinical trials and receive more than $31 million annually in research grants. UM/Sylvester at Deerfield Beach opened in 2003 to better meet the needs of residents of Broward and Palm Beach Counties. This 10,000 square-foot facility at I-95 and S.W. 10th Street offers appointments with physicians from six cancer specialties, complementary therapies from the Courtelis Center, and education and outreach events. For more information, please call 305-243-9088 or visit

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