Using Humor to Inspire Hope for Children with Brain Tumors
The fourth annual “No Laughing Matter” comedy night was held on October 14th and raised approximately $600,000 to support pediatric brain tumor research. The fundraising event was hosted at the New York Athletic Club by the Children’s Brain Tumor Project Foundation. An all-star comedy line-up of talented comedians donated their time and talent to the laugh-out-loud fundraiser, 100% of the proceeds from which directly benefits the Children’s Brain Tumor Project (CBTP) at Weill Cornell Medicine.
“We are so grateful to the Children’s Brain Tumor Project Foundation, our honorees, our dinner chair, the performers, the sponsors, and the volunteer staff who made this event such a tremendous success. We are so humbled to be the beneficiary of such a fun event in New York City, and we were completely blown away by the support,” said Dr. Mark Souweidane, cofounder of the CBTP and Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Weill Cornell Medicine.
The event included an emotional donation appeal, raising much-needed research funding to support the critical work at the lab. There were also several children and families in attendance who have been personally impacted by a pediatric brain tumor diagnosis, like eight-year-old Enzo Peloqiun, who bravely appeared on stage with comedic host Jordan Klepper (and his stuffed dinosaur for support).
Liz Laugh Love Award Recipient Veronica Marsano
In addition to side-splitting comedy, the evening included the third annual Liz Laugh Love award presentation. This year, the Children’s Brain Tumor Project was proud to honor Veronica Marsano and her family for funding the launch of a comprehensive precision medicine program for children with brain tumors at Weill Cornell Medicine. Their generous gift in memory of Veronica’s son, Patrick, has enabled the lab to define individualized cancer therapies for children with rare and inoperable pediatric brain tumors.
The award is named after Elizabeth (Liz) Minter, who is remembered for her abundant love and familiar laughter after she passed away from the same disease as Patrick in 2012. Before she died, Elizabeth created a unique fundraising initiative that became the cornerstone for the creation of the Weill Cornell Medicine Children’s Brain Tumor Project.
Good Humor Award Recipient Anthony Greco
The recipient of the Good Humor award was Anthony Greco, a previous patient of Dr. Mark Souweidane. After several years post-treatment, Anthony is now a stand-up performer in New York City who often finds clever ways to incorporate his experience battling a brain tumor into his material. The audience agreed that not only was his performance at No Laughing Matter hilarious, it was extremely meaningful.
Jordan Klepper was a funny and engaging comedic host who threaded together a range of emotional stories and award presentations with hilarious stand-up comedy. Comedians included (in order of performances) Josh Gondelman, Ophira Eisenberg, Jordan Carlos, Anthony Greco, and Roy Wood, Jr. NBC News Anchor and Senior National Correspondent, Tom Llamas, hosted the live research appeal.
A fundraiser of this magnitude relies on sponsors to ensure financial success. For the fourth year in a row, the CBTP is grateful to Ms. Tory Burch for being our headlining sponsor. Her support has been unwavering. Rocky Benloulou-Dubin of Rockster Productions managed the talent and the stage program along with Big Hungry Bear Productions who recorded the event. Love Your Melon provided all attendees with special knit caps, and Lois Silva Zini donated her time and talent as the event photographer.