Alameda, CA (PressExposure) September 08, 2012 -- Louis Zamperini, a 95-year-old best selling author and motivational speaker, will share his extraordinary life story and his message of forgiveness and hope when the Lazarex Cancer Foundation of Danville holds its annual fundraiser gala on the U.S.S. Hornet on Sept. 29 at 707 Hornet Dr., Pier 3 in Alameda.
Zamperini is one of the last surviving members of the 1936 U.S. Olympic team for the Berlin games. He finished eighth in the 5,000 meter run, but his last quarter-mile split of 56 seconds caught the attention of Adolph Hitler, who insisted upon meeting Zamperini. The pair shook hands, and before the end of the games Zamperini seized the opportunity to steal a Nazi flag off of the Chancellery wall under the noses of Nazi guards.
A few years later Zamperini was serving as a fighter pilot in the Army Air Corps when his plane crashed into the Pacific. He became a Japanese POW and was tortured for three years. The United States listed him as missing in action, and a year later as dead, before his liberation at the end of the war. In 1950 he met his captors and hugged each of them while explaining his life philosophy.
"Louis Zamperini's message of hope and personal perseverance under the most trying circumstances is a perfect match for our mission of providing hope and time to late stage cancer patients and their families," said Lazarex founder and President Dana Dornsife. Since its founding in 2007, Lazarex has helped more than 100 patients find FDA-approved clinical trials and then paid for travel and lodging for those trials which can be anywhere in North America. These treatments have helped add months or even years to people for whom conventional medicine has no treatment. Some patients are now in remission.
"We've helped people enjoy one more Christmas, one more Little League season, or even make it to their daughter's wedding," Dornsife said. "We believe that the size of one's checkbook should have no bearing on the length or quality of their life."
The gala will be much more than a sumptuous meal and a unique and memorable speaker. Guests will be entertained during the cocktail hour by a group called The Swingin' Blue Stars, four Blue Star Moms singing Andrews Sisters-style tunes. After dinner JamFunkShus will regale guests with danceable numbers from the 60s to the 90s.
Casino games will be available throughout the evening along with both a live and silent auction. Prizes include travel packages, deluxe wine country junkets, catered dinners, and fine jewelry. Well known in CA, Italian crooner tribute duo Wallin and Baretta, ardent Lazarex supporters, will be attending the gala. Stay tuned for other celebrity guest announcements.
Tickets to the Lazarex Battle for a Lifetime are $350 per person and can be purchased at https://lazarex.ejoinme.org/USSHornetGala . Dress is cocktail attire.
"Every dollar we raise helps provide hope for people who have been told they have none," Dornsife said. "We believe our guests will have a great time, hear some inspirational messages, and leave the event knowing they have helped extend the quality of life for some folks in very difficult situations."