New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole and his wife Amy headlined “A Culinary & Musical Experience” fundraiser on World Cancer Day (Saturday, February 4th) together with Michael & Joanna Irwin. The intimate gathering honored the legacy of the Irwins’ son, Will, who passed away at 8-months-old to a cancer that is still unknown today. Over $400,000 was successfully raised for the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation to fund research and discover innovative treatments that will enable children to beat their disease and realize their full potential.
Gathering at The Ranch at Laguna resort in Laguna Beach, guests enjoyed cocktails, an impeccable five course dinner created by Chef Kyle St. John and wines curated by Gerrit and his father Mark that included pairings by Pahlmeyer. The program was emceed by cancer survivor and Fox LA entertainment reporter Amanda Salas and featured heartfelt speeches by the Coles, Irwins, Dr. Ashley Plant-Fox of Lurie Children’s Hospital and PCRF’s Jeri Wilson. Additionally, musical entertainment was provided by artists such as Tim Reynolds, Lee Rocker from the Stray Cats, Jackson Breit, Carneyval and Conner Smith with Josh Jenkins & Matt Jenkins.
““We had a front row seat into the devastation caused by Will’s pediatric cancer diagnosis, which is why Amy and I want to do what we can to pave a better path forward by supporting research,” said Gerrit Cole, who recently welcomed his second child. “As parents, the Irwins did everything possible to protect Will and make sure he knew he was loved. Today they are making a huge impact on the world. We were thrilled to co-host a successful evening of fundraising alongside them and will continue to share the mission of PCRF.”
Since losing their son, the Irwins have committed themselves to saving other children by transforming cancer care. They have raised over $1.5M on behalf of the Will Irwin Fund at PCRF which supports top researchers and institutions. In addition, they have created “Will’s Warriors,” recognizing one child a year who is going through or completed treatment. These children exude immeasurable strength and manage a determined spirit in spite of the challenges before them…like Will. “We believe that together, we can make a powerful impact for children,” explained Joanna Irwin. “My husband Michael and I feel so blessed to have so many people support us – first, while we navigated our grief and now, honoring our son by helping us develop treatments and cures for all childhood cancers,” she added.
Thank you to everyone who attended and/or contributed to the event and to everyone who had a hand in its coordination.