(Los Angeles) – Saturday, July 14th 2018 – The Hollywood Press Corps attended the Concern Foundation’s 44th Annual Block Party on the backlot of Paramount Studios. This was in the heart of Hollywood on the foundation’s 50th anniversary. Themed this year as Cancer Crusaders, the highly anticipated and sold-out event hosted 4,000 guests, successfully raising $1.8 million for cancer research through ticket sales, donations and bids on auction items.

All guests had a chance to experience over 70 restaurants, caters, and beverage vendors including Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Fogo de Chao, Dulan’s Soul Food, Button Mash, Fresh Brother’s Pizza and Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs. The night was filled with interactive entertainment such as casino-style gaming, a celebrity bar hosting actors Lili Bourdán (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, THE NUN), Gabe Jarret (REAL GENIUS) and Chad Johnson, the original TV Batmobile, and live and iconic Super Hero “streetmosphere”. For the 14th year in a row, The Best of LA® on Los Angeles Magazine’s street featured lounges, photo booths, food stations, beauty stations and gift bags sponsored by Infiniti.

As a focal point for the evening’s festivities, the live auction lead by lifestyle expert and entertainment reporter, Mar Yvette, presented guests with the option to bid on prizes including VIP tickets to a taping of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, VIP tickets to the 2018 American Music Awards, a six-night vacation in Maui, and Dodger Dugout seats. Following the auction, John Ferdenzi of Town and Country Event Rentals was honored with the Spirit of Concern award. Recognized for his dedication and commitment to Concern Foundation, John Ferdenzi has been a valued member of the extended Concern family for more than two and a half decades. He has given his time and creative talents to assist at various Concern Block Parties and annual holiday events.

This year, in connection to the theme, the foundation was happy to honor Dr. Jay & Kris Calvert and family as this year’s “Cancer Crusaders” for their participation in helping to conquer cancer through research. Honored on stage alongside his family, Dr. Jay & Kris Calvert openly shared their personal experience with cancer. The Calvert’s 10 year old son Ace was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age 4 and while today he has beaten his cancer, ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) can always return and he is never truly cured. This is a major reason he and his family feels so strongly about raising money to help find a permanent cure. Jay himself was a young scientist who could not get funding early in his career as a molecular biologist and he personally knows how important our mission to supporting young investigators is to jump start researcher’s careers. Dr. Jay Calvert has been consecutively named one of Los Angeles Magazine’s “Super Doctors” in 2014, 2015, and 2016. He has appeared on multiple hit television programs including CBS’s “The Doctors” and OWN’s “Dr. Phil”.

Cancer survivor/superhero. Photo by Marie Gregorio-Oviedo

Concern Foundation is proud to have these members of the community serve as this year’s honorees. Their personal connection to the fight against cancer and philanthropic actions alongside the non-profit organization is sure to help make this year’s Block Party a success.

Concluding the event, Derek Alpert stated, “Having the honor to be on stage to welcome and see nearly 4,000 of the true super heroes all gathered together helping us raise funds to conquer cancer is a very emotional thing for me. It’s such a blessing to be able to help orchestrate this event each year and to bring together four generations of donors, five decades of cancer researchers that Concern has funded all surrounded by a tremendous outpouring of love and support by our local business community that donate their time and talents so that we can give as much money as possible to support cancer research.”

Concern Foundation’s mission is to conquer cancer by providing essential funds to support the early, yet critical, stages of discovery. Since its inception in 1968, Concern has raised and awarded $63 million to 750 gifted cancer scientists around the world.

For 50 years, Concern has pioneered the advancement of cancer immunology—the study of the relationship between the immune system and cancer—a field that is now widely acknowledged to hold the most potential for discovering treatments and preventions for cancer.

The Tom Nolan Band entertained the crowd with the soulful sounds of Jazz, Blues, and R&B.

Publicist Ed Solarzano.  Photo by Marie Gregorio-Oviedo

Check out the website for the Concern Foundation here.

Dustin Brown

I am the Senior Editor at

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