Philly Fights Cancer goes into round five on October 24

For four years prior to 2020, Philly Fights Cancer has raised nearly $40 million for pancreatic cancer research, mostly on the basis of its annual October gala and benefit. 

With COVID-19 still raging and all the health and spiritual woes that stem from that pandemic aflame, it is not hard to forget that there are other health-related causes that need medical and financial attention. Philly Fights Cancer and the Abramson Center didn’t forget. 

Philly Fights Cancer

For year five, since we all can’t go out and mingle en masse, Philly Fights Cancer: From Home on Saturday, October 24 at 7:00 p.m. is the answer – a virtual event benefitting the translational research and clinical trials for Pancreatic Cancer at the Abramson Cancer Center. Join in at (using the password: pfc).

“Although this year looks a bit different, the organization is dedicated to their mission of fundraising for life-saving clinical trials,” wrote Nancy Wolfson, co-chair of Philly Fights Cancer.

To that end, you can still dine with PFC through its restaurant partners such as the Blue Bell Inn listed online, laugh along with host-stand-up comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, and Jessy Kyle, Philly’s most emotional and decidedly favorite jazz and soul singer, songwriter, and pianist who has forever been a part of the Philly Fights Cancer family since its start. Along with acting in concert with PFC as a performer, Kyle is a fighter herself, a three-time survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  

Philly Fights Cancer
Jesse Kyle

Jesse Kyle and I discussed the battle and the virtual PFC ball.

A.D. Amorosi: You’ve been doing PF benefits from the start. How is it that you keep the event fresh for attendees, especially this year on ZOOM? 
Jesse Kyle: We’re going to have the same energy and emotion as if we were live. The cause remains the same, the delivery is just different. What’s really exciting is that we’ll have a brand new audience from all over the world, who otherwise wouldn’t be able to attend in person. 

A.D. Amorosi: How has fundraising for cancer been affected during this year’s global COVID-19 pandemic? 
Jesse Kyle: Although COVID-19 was an urgent and unprecedented worldwide emergency this year, for those battling cancer the fight continued. Cancer doesn’t stop for COVID, and for anyone who is personally battling or has a loved one who is battling cancer, the fight must continue. The doctors and researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center continued to treat and care for patients at the highest level, even amidst the height of the coronavirus pandemic and will continue to do so.

A.D. Amorosi: You have always been pretty frank about this, so asking you is never with hesitation, which I always think is brave of you. Can you discuss your personal experience with cancer and how it’s driven you to speak on behalf of Philly Fights Cancer’s mission? 
Jesse Kyle: I am a 3-time survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I was treated at CHOP at age 16, Penn at 27, and Abramson Cancer at Penn at age 36. I truly owe my life to the brilliant doctors, nurses, and researchers at The Abramson Cancer Center. So, it’s with great humility that I share my story and my voice in Philly Fights Cancer’s fundraising efforts. I want other cancer patients to benefit, survive, and thrive like I have. 

Philly Fights Cancer

A.D. Amorosi: What do you see as the potential highlights Philly Fights Cancer: From Home? What will be new? Different. Approachable?
Jesse Kyle: I would love to say the highlight will be me, but it will be Sebastian Maniscalco for sure! Philly Fights Cancer: From Home couldn’t get any more approachable. This will be an extraordinary chance to order some take-out, perhaps from one of the restaurant partners, put on your favorite fuzzy slippers, tuxedo, or gown, and enjoy this one-of-a-kind event!

Images: Tyler Boye, Allie


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