Gateway’s Gala: P.T. Barnum would have loved it!



By Judy Carmack Bross



Even P.T. Barnum would have tipped his ringmaster’s top hat to the planners of Gateway for Cancer Research’s recent “under the big top” CURES gala which raised a three-ring sum of $4.1 million recently. Inspired by the Oscar-nominated film The Greatest Showman, Chairs Richard J.Stephenson, Gateway’s founder, and Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson, a Gateway Director, welcomed the 750 guests. Reba and Baby Daddy star Melissa Peterman emceed an evening of entertainment and celebrity surprises at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, which included a performance by American’s Got Talent’s youngest finalist and Golden Buzzer winner, 11-year-old Angelica Hale. 


Richard J Stephenson and Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson.

Richard and Dr. Stacie Stephenson on stage.

Fernando Varela, a classic modern day tenor and star of the first national tour of The Book of Mormon and a member of the Toronto Independent Music Awards nominated band, Silver Lining, gave a show-stopping performance of a medley from The Greatest Showman, alongside America’s Got Talent finalist and Canadian Songwriters Award winner Stacey Kay. The London Essentials, a five-piece acoustic party band, then led the lineup, followed by Pia Toscano, American Idol finalist and star of the new Netflix show Westside; and pianist, recording artist and composer William Joseph who has shared the stage with such greats as Beyoncé and John Legend; and international virtuoso violinist Caroline Campbellwho has appeared at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. R&B musical legend Brian McKnight took the stage and delivered a memorable performance before Montreal Rhapsody Orchestra drew the music to an end.


Jonathan Cullen performs as The Greatest Showman.

Brian McKnight performing at The Greatest Gateway.

Chef Markus Fordmenu featured ingredients are believed to aid and assist in the fight against cancer.  Live auction packages included five nights in Bali and two destinations.


                  Tablescape at The Greatest Gateway.


$4.1 million raised for Phase I and II Cancer Research Trials at The Greatest Gateway.

The evening also showcased breakthrough clinical cancer trials funded by Gateway.  Since its founding in 1991, Gateway for Cancer Research has funded more than 150 patient-focused clinical trials at renowned institutions worldwide. Proceeds from the gala will support crucial Phase I and Phase II patient trials across all cancer types, including breast, blood, lung, brain, pancreatic and pediatric cancers.


Stella and Dennis Olis at the gala.

Julie Pendleton and Emma Burke.

Eric Kipp and Elana Kipp.

Karl Meehan, Tasha and Lee Polster.


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Photo Credit: Bob and Dawn Davis Photography