Dinner in White has been in 35 countries and 80 cities around the world. On August 18, 2018, the international phenomenon returned in for the ninth time in TWO surprise locations in Colorado!
Since 2010, Dinner in White has “popped up” annually in a secret location near the Denver Metro area. This year, in a unique twist, Dinner in White also headed up north to Fort Collins for two simultaneous events in an effort to raise awareness of the comparative oncology research at the CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, one of the University of Colorado Cancer Center’s consortium members.
“The CU Cancer Center consortium boasts innovative scientists dedicated to advancing cancer science and clinical care,” says Richard Schulick, MD, MBA, FACS, director of CU Cancer Center and chair of the CU School of Medicine’s Department of Surgery. “We highlighted how humans and our companion animals help each other when it comes to cancer research. People in the Denver metro area, Fort Collins and the state of Colorado have this incredible resource at their disposal and we want everyone to know.”
Following the Parisian “Diner en Blanc” theme, Dinner in White guests purchase their tickets in advance without any idea where it will take place. It is not until the day of the event that attendees learn the exact location. In the Denver Metro area, the Hangar at the Stanley Marketplace was a stunning venue for more than 270 guests. In Fort Collins, the Block One event space was ideal for a more intimate event.
At the Hangar, many guests started the evening with a picture under the 20-foot-tall white “Eiffel Tower”. Local singer/artist Stacy Riley and pianist Kevin Klemm set the tone of the evening with live music. Attendees were invited to purchase a bottle of wine from the “Arc de Triomphe”, take photos with living topiaries and contortionists, have fun at the photobooth from ShutterQube, and satisfy their sweet tooth at the 500-piece chocolate buffet and dessert bar donated by various local vendors. VIP guests dined on a delicious buffet from A Spice of Life catering company and were treated to an exclusive wine tasting featuring Elway Wines lead by sommelier Maia Parish. The night ended with dancing and music from DJ Chonz.
Alan Gionet, Channel 4 CBS Denver’s morning anchor, was the emcee for the evening. In an experiment with the crowd he asked a series of questions including if they had been diagnosed with cancer, been a caregiver of someone going through cancer, and if they had ever had a loved one or friend be diagnosed with cancer. By the end, in a very emotional moment, nearly everyone in the audience was out of their seat. Rod Page, DVM, director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center, then emphasized the importance of comparative oncology research between the two cancer centers and how it can improve the treatment and care in humans and animals alike.
The highlight of the evening was the tear-jerking and inspiring story behind Duke, a loveable golden retriever who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and is being treated at the Flint Animal Cancer Center. Duke and his human’s, Brad and Heidi Robinson, shared their story and how a clinical trial saved their beloved dog’s life.
Up north, Dinner in White hosted 100 guests at Block One Events on the banks of the Poudre River in Fort Collins. Attendees were welcomed with passed appetizers provided by the evening’s caterers Juli y Juan’s Kitchen and drinks from Horse & Dragon Brewing Company and The Infinite Monkey Theorem. As the crowd settled in, many enjoyed posing for photos in the One Cure photo booth after having their faces painted. Others enjoyed sitting for a portrait sketched by a local caricaturist.
During dinner, guests viewed a short video telling the story of comparative oncology followed by an interactive keynote from Richard Schulick, MD, director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center. Dr. Schulick emphasized the importance of comparative oncology in the quest to speed up meaningful discoveries in cancer treatments. Following his remarks, Flint Animal Cancer Center patient and retired K9 tracking dog PD took the stage with his human’s Tina and Scott Wisler. Teary-eyed, Tina shared the story of PD’s diagnosis with hemangiosarcoma in May 2018 and their journey through PD’s treatment at CSU.
Next, human osteosarcoma patient, Travis Vagher, one of the first human surgical limb spare patients more than 30 years ago, told his story and credited veterinarian and Flint Animal Cancer Center founding director, Dr. Steve Withrow, with saving his life. Dr. Withrow originally perfected the surgical limb spare technique in dogs and later shared his work with Travis’ orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Ross Wilkins. Travis quipped, “It might have been the drugs, but I’m pretty sure there was a veterinarian in my surgery.”
Capping off the presentation, the crowd sang happy birthday to two-time cancer survivor Sugar, an energetic yellow lab that attended the event with her dad, Ryan Sparks. In celebration of Sugar’s tenth birthday Ryan announced a gift to One Cure.
“Dinner in White provided an amazing opportunity to connect with both old and new One Cure friends,” said Christine Hardy, DVM, Flint Animal Cancer Center Operations and Strategy andOne Cure Program Lead. “We are grateful to every single guest in both Denver and Fort Collins and to the CU Cancer Center staff for spending a lovely evening focused on the potential of comparative oncology for ALL cancer patients.”
Dinner in White is dedicated to raising awareness and support for the life-saving research at the CU Cancer Center. Each year highlights a different program at our center.
For more information please visit: http://www.dinnerinwhite.com
Dinner in White would not be possible without our incredible sponsors! A special thanks to:
Thank you to our Arc de Triomphe Sponsor:
The Bakemeyer Family
Thank you to our many local donors!