Baer family, Alan Cole raise more than $1 million for City of Hope

Home furnishings industry leaders turn hope and dreams into reality at Spirit of Life fundraising gala

April 7, 2014

LOS ANGELES – The recent Spirit of Life awards dinner honoring two preeminent leaders of the furniture industry– Alan Cole, retired president of Hooker Furniture, and the Baer family of Baer’s Furniture – raised more than $1 million for cancer and diabetes research at City of Hope. The prestigious Spirit of Life award is City of Hope’s highest accolade, presented annually to industry leaders in recognition of their outstanding personal, professional and philanthropic achievements.

2014 Spirit of Life Honorees

From Left: Elaine and Bobby Baer, Baer’s Furniture, Robert Stone, president and CEO of City of Hope, and Patti and Alan Cole, Hooker Furniture.

As a world-renowned biomedical research and treatment center, City of Hope shortens the times from new research idea to new medical treatment in order to quickly bring cures to patients. Its breakthrough research has led to therapies now used by people worldwide.

“We are thrilled with the overwhelming support the Baer family and Alan Cole have championed for City of Hope,” said Brittany De La Torre, director of corporate philanthropy at City of Hope. “The passion exhibited by both honoree teams has been phenomenal – a truly personal drive to make a difference in the future of medicine.”

The gala, held April 6 at Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C., honored this year’s award recipients, but previous honorees as well, treating all to a VIP reception followed by the awards dinner.

“It’s a great honor for the Baer family to be recognized by our industry colleagues,” said Bobby Baer, chairman and chief executive of the family-owned business, which has 15 furniture stores throughout Florida. “We are proud to support the remarkable research at City of Hope.”

Added Alan Cole of Hooker Furniture: “City of Hope’s scientists have had a global impact with research that benefits more than 100 million people. Our family is personally grateful for the advances made in cancer treatment at City of Hope.”

In addition to the awards ceremony, the evening’s highlights included a video of the honorees touring City of Hope, where they made wishes of hope and healing for their loved ones on City of Hope’s Wishing Trees. Dinner guests were invited to complete their own wishing tags, to be displayed on City of Hope’s campus in Los Angeles later this week. The appeal asked participants to make a wish and a donation at the same time, raising an additional $30,000 for cancer research at City of Hope.

Also at the event, Linda Malkas, Ph.D., deputy director of research at City of Hope, explained the mission of City of Hope’s translational research and its ability to directly impact patients through life-saving clinical trials. During the VIP reception, City of Hope surprised Russell Bienenstock, editor of Furniture World, with the Volunteer of the Year award.

Chuck Reilly, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing at AICO, chairs the National Home Furnishings Industry group supporting City of Hope, and Kevin O’Connor, chief executive of Samson Marketing, chairs the organization’s Spirit of Life Award Dinner campaign.

Contributions to City of Hope are still accepted. For more information on ways to support City of Hope, contact the NHFI Corporate Philanthropy Office at 800-272-2310 or furniture@coh.org.

About City of Hope
City of Hope is a leading research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as a comprehensive cancer center, the highest recognition bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is also a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, with research and treatment protocols that advance care throughout the nation. City of Hope’s main hospital is located in Duarte, Calif., just northeast of Los Angeles, with clinics in Antelope Valley and South Pasadena. It is ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” in cancer by U.S.News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation and genetics. For more information, visit www.cityofhope.org or follow City of Hope on facebook, twitter, youtube or flickr.

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