The family of Seena Magowitz Foundation supporters got together for a pre-holiday virtual gathering for an evening of networking, inspiration, education and music. The event took attendees back on a trip to the 1970s, when disco was king.
Roger Magowitz, who launched the Seena Magowitz Golf Classic in 2003 to honor the memory of his mother who succumbed to pancreatic cancer, presided over the event. It featured networking sessions, presentations by pancreatic cancer survivors, nurses, caregivers and advocates, and a concert.
“It has been almost 20 years that we have been gathering annually, and I want to thank you for being such active supporters for our foundation, patients, doctors and nurses. I actually feel that we have become one big family,” Magowitz said.
The We Are Family theme was carried out with ’70s Seena Magowitz Groovy Disco Kits, sent to attendees before the event, which included tie-dyed T-shirts, fancy sunglasses, and recipes for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic Peach, Love & Lemonade drinks.
Mixologist Michaela Hightower led a class for the attendees in drink making, including tips on how to muddle blackberries – “break them up a little bit” — and mixing — “shake with intention.”
Special guest Amber Barto, Miss Arizona 2021, appeared on screen with Magowitz and talked about her support for pancreatic cancer education, a cause she has been devoted to for 10 years.
Magowitz thanked her for her help in the fight against pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest types of the disease. “It’s all about having a voice and sharing the good word,” he told her. “You can touch the whole country with your story.”
The event included several presentations by nurses from the Medical College of Wisconsin and HonorHealth in Phoenix, Arizona.
“We normally talk about the pancreatic cancer doctors and patients but tonight we are talking about the nurses and caregivers,” Magowitz noted. “They are with patients all the time. They are family. We thank them for their great work. They are the glue that keeps the families together.”
Stan Vitikas, a 13-year pancreatic cancer survivor, addressed the group and said fundraising is critical to the cause. “This is all about money going to research,” he said, observing that Magowitz events have raised $12 million for pancreatic cancer research over the years.
Another highlight of the evening was a concert by Alyssa Bonagura and Baillie and The Boys, long-time supporters of the Magowitz events. That ended with Bonagura singing “We are family/Seena Magowitz charity.”
Doug Krinsky, an executive with Brooklyn Bedding, was impressed with the event.
“All I can say is ‘Wow,’” he wrote on the event’s chat board. “To the caregivers and patients, your relentless pursuit of care and being positive in your journey is incredible. It is so inspiring. I just donated. Join me in donating.”
After 17 years of events, the Magowitz Golf Classic went virtual in 2020 and several other events went virtual that year and this year.
Magowitz is hoping to have an in-person event in Phoenix in March 2022.
Major sponsors of the We Are Family event included Leggett & Platt, Customatic Technologies and the Moran Family Foundation.