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The Kristen Ann Carr Fund’s 2022 gala, featuring John Mellencamp and honoree John Sykes, set a new fundraising record, pulling in a record $1.35 million for sarcoma research and treatment, the organization announced Thursday.

It also announced the addition of two new fellows to its training programs at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: surgical oncology fellow Dr. George Li and medical oncology fellow Dr. Carly Rosemore.

The gala, called “A Night to Remember,” has been an annual tradition for 29 years, with an honoree, live music and a premium auction. This year, The Fund honored John Sykes, the president of entertainment enterprises for iHeartMedia and featured a special guest performance from John Mellencamp. It was hosted by Drew Nieporent of Myriad Restaurant Group at Tribeca Grill for the 17th year.  

“The Kristen Ann Carr Fund has made so much tangible progress in the research and treatment of sarcoma through its partnership with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and I couldn’t be more honored to play a part in that important legacy,” said Sykes. “Introducing my friend, John Mellencamp, to perform in such an intimate setting was icing on the cake.”

“Year after year, our circle of friends and loyal supporters has expanded beyond what we ever imagined,” added Barbara Carr, co-founder of the KACF, whose daughter passed away from sarcoma only two years after she was diagnosed. “I would like to sincerely thank John Sykes for his generosity and dedication to The Fund since our very beginning, as well as all of the sponsors and volunteers who helped make this A Night to Remember such a huge success.”

Over $500,000 was raised at auction, with the top item being a Telecaster guitar played by Bruce Springsteen several times in 2019, including at A Night to Remember with honoree Danny Clinch, which sold for $41,000. Springsteen headlined the organization’s inaugural benefit concert at Madison Square Garden.

Entering its 30th year in operation, to date, the Fund has funded over 35 doctors to study sarcoma cancers at MSK. Dr. Li was a surgical research fellow at MSK from 2016 to 2018, investigating novel targeted therapies in laboratory models of soft tissue sarcomas with Dr. Sam Singer. Dr. Rosemore is a third year pediatric fellow focusing on the study and treatment of patients with rare pediatric solid tumors. Her future goals are to focus on the care of pediatric patients and to lead early-phase clinical trials that will produce innovative advances in the treatment of these childhood sarcomas.

In addition to its fellowship programs, the KAFC has built a dedicated sarcoma laboratory, underwritten several grants for former KACF fellows, hosted holiday parties for the MSK pediatric department and more. As previously noted, it is nearing completion of its $10 million fundraising commitment to The Kristen Ann Carr Center for Sarcoma Treatment & Research — a project designed to significantly expand the ability of doctors to make progress in both the lab and in patient care. Head here for more information.