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Nov. 20, 2015 -- Hundreds 'celebrate hope' at USA Mitchell Cancer Institute

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MOBILE, Ala. -- Under clear skies and paper lanterns, hundreds of supporters of the University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute swayed to music and sampled local dishes at the 7th Annual Celebrate Hope fundraiser Thursday night.

“Think about what the community would be like without MCI,” said USA President Tony Waldrop, speaking to the crowd at Mitchell Cancer Institute in midtown Mobile.

This year’s event was expected to generate an at least $330,000 in net revenues, bringing the total raised since the annual fundraiser was created to about $3 million. Proceeds from Celebrate Hope 2015 will be used to purchase an X-ray diffraction device to help researchers at MCI visualize and understand the shapes of proteins in their search for new and better treatments for cancer.

Mitchell Cancer Institute receives about $5 million in annual grant funding for cancer research, which has resulted in more than 45 patent applications and five biotech startups since it was established more than a decade ago. MCI employs about 300 researchers, physicians, health-care workers and staff at its headquarters in midtown Mobile.

One of several local chefs contributing to the culinary affair was Chef Gillian Clark of Kitchen on George. As she arranged plates of crab risotto Thursday, Clark said her family has been touched by cancer. Her father died from the disease, and her nephew is currently recovering from lymphoma, she said.

In addition to Kitchen on George, local restaurants and caterers participating in Celebrate Hope included Aramark/USA Dining Services, Bake My Day, Bay Gourmet Catering, Clark’s Kitchen, Classic City Catering, Couture Cakes, Half Shell Oyster House, Legacy Bar & Grill, Liquid Lounge, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Von’s Bistro and Wind Creek Casino & Hotel, the presenting sponsor. Entertainment was provided by The A-Town A-List of Atlanta.

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