Annual Moffitt Luncheon Has Success in Sarasota

By Jonesa Rodriguez - February 13, 2020

By Jonesa Rodriguez

 “I’m a Moffitteer,” said Moffitt Foundation Board Member Eileen Curd, as she discussed her excitement for the annual Moffitt Cancer Center Luncheon, held at Michael’s on the Bay at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens on Jan. 30. This year, Curd and her husband, Howard, were the presenting sponsors. She also served on the 18-member Sarasota-based committee that organized the luncheon. “I just love the work that Moffitt does for the community, and I am grateful to be a part of the family,” said Curd.

Since 1998, Curd and Sarasota’s most influential women have come together for one cause – to help accelerate innovative cancer research. The Moffitt Cancer Center Luncheon in Sarasota is a fundraising event that attracts more than 300 community and business leaders. This event is more than a nice meal accompanied by an “ask” — it is designed to promote cancer awareness and education in the community.

In its early years, the luncheon was held to raise funds for and build awareness around breast cancer research. It has evolved into an event that funds innovative research in areas all across the cancer center. This year, CAR T, a revolutionary cellular immunotherapy, was the main topic of discussion. Attendees were given a glimpse of some of the cutting-edge research happening in their backyard. Moffitt expert, Dr. Frederick Locke, held the crowd’s attention as he explained the latest advances in cancer treatment, screening and research while sharing what drives his own passion: his father who battled lymphoma when Locke was just a teenager. 

Dr. Frederick Locke, vice chair of the Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy Department

After Locke’s presentation, the floor was open for Q&A and guests were not shy, flooding Locke with questions ranging from how this new therapy could be used for breast cancer or pancreatic cancer treatment, to saying thank you for his commitment to research. Then, eyes watered as a special patient story was shown, highlighting just how critical community support is in the fight against cancer.

“This isn’t just a regular lunch and catch-up session with your closest friends,” Curd said. “It’s a day of learning and seeing the impact the funds raised have on cancer research. This is a special luncheon.”

This year’s luncheon raised more than $200,000, bringing the grand total over the years to $1.5 million. All proceeds benefit the advancement of cancer research at Moffitt through the newly established Sarasota Innovation Fund.

To learn more about the Moffitt Foundation or to donate visit

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