BEVERLY HILLS, CA-Legends from the sports and entertainment world gathered at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to raise funds for the fight against cancer, Friday night at the 18th Annual Harold & Carole Pump Foundation Gala. Baseball greats Rod Carew and Reggie Jackson, basketball icon Bill Walton and cancer surgeon Marc Kerner, M.D., F.A.C.S. were all honored as part of the night’s festivities.
Eighteen years ago, the gala started as a small get together to raise money for cancer. The event has grown immensely through the years, thanks in large part to the foundation’s co-founders, Dana and David Pump. “Every bit of the money goes to diagnostic services or social services at the cancer center,” said Kerner, who’s been an integral part the foundation since its beginnings. “They’ve made a tremendous difference in our community.”
Based in Chatsworth, the foundation honors the memories of Harold Pump, who lost his battle with cancer in 2000, and Carole Pump, a loving mother who passed away in 2012. Dana and David have raised more than $8 million working together in conjunction with Northridge Hospital Foundation. “I think the Pump brothers have been big contributors to society over the years,” professional football legend and social justice warrior Jim Brown said.
Walton, one of this year’s honoree and currently the executive chairman of the nonprofit Connect SD Sport Innovators (SDSI), is one of only four players ever to earn multiple championships in both NCAA and NBA competition. “I’m proud, privileged, honored and humbled to be part of this great program,” he said. Walton is also a major advocate for speaking up about the important role health plays in living a happy life.
“If you got your health, anything is possible,” Walton said.
Attendees that were part of the gala’s star-studded list included Spencer Haywood, Michael Irvin, Bo Jackson, Warren Moon, Shannon Sharpe, Jamaal Wilkes and others.
“Anytime we can support a situation like this, we love to do it,” Pro Football Hall of Famer Ken Houston said. Former NBA center John Salley added, “the fact they keep making it at this level with the Beverly Hilton moves it to a great level.”
International boxing great Oscar De La Hoya presented Muhammad Ali with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the first-ever gala and has been a huge supporter of the foundation ever since. “We’re going to continue until we have that cure,” he said.
Benefiting the Harold Pump Department of Radiation Oncology, Carole Pump Women’s Center & Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Cancer Center at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, all proceeds from the event go towards the development of new technology, cancer screening and educational programs for the underserved.
Blake Atwell is a multimedia journalist and sophomore at Santa Monica College.