The Grand Gala Benefits Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health
The Grand Gala Chairs Lourdes Jofré-Collett, Karel Foti and Leonard Kalman, M.D., with Brian E. Keeley, president and CEO of Baptist Health

Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, receives the Baptist Health Inspiration Award from Bill Banchs (left), CEO of Baptist Health Foundation, and Brian E. Keeley, president and CEO of Baptist Health

In one unprecedented and glamorous evening, the community celebrated a new milestone in healthcare at The Grand Gala. More than 900 people attended the Gala to benefit the newly opened Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health.

"It’s hard to believe that just a little over two years ago, many of us were standing on this same location for the groundbreaking ceremony of Miami Cancer Institute,” William H. Banchs, Baptist Health Foundation CEO, told the gathering.

“Years of planning went into bringing Miami Cancer Institute to reality,” said Baptist Health president and CEO, Brian E. Keeley. “We watched people leave our community for cancer services at faraway, specialized centers. We knew there had to be a better way.”

Organizing the memorable event was a “labor of love” for the gala committee, led tirelessly by Co-chairs Karel Foti, Lourdes Jofré-Collett and Leonard Kalman, M.D.

As part of the evening, Nancy Brinker, who founded the Susan G. Komen organization in memory of her sister who died of breast cancer, was honored with the first Baptist Health South Florida Inspiration Award. In addition, actor Andy Garcia, who graduated from Miami Beach High and attended Florida International University, was named the inaugural Baptist Health South Florida Ambassador.

Also spotlighted were the two Grand Gala Diamond Sponsors: Robins & Morton, which helped construct the Miami Cancer Institute facility, and Flightserve, the official aviation transport partner of Baptist Health.

“It’s been an honor to be involved with this important undertaking,” said Michael Zinner, M.D., Miami Cancer Institute CEO and executive medical director. “What a meaningful experience it is to have such an incredible show of support in the fight against cancer.”

For more information about Miami Cancer Institute, contact
Annie Martinez-Lopez, at

Drs. Randy and Joel Schenkman

Gene W. Drody and Lani Kahn Drody, with event sponsors Trish and Dan Bell

Michael Zinner, M.D., Miami Cancer Institute CEO and executive medical director, and Nancy Brinker

George Foyo, Baptist Health executive vice president and chief administrative officer, and Luisa Foyo, with Gloria and Emilio Estefan

Johann Pillai, founder and principal of event sponsor FLIGHTSERVE

Jose Portuondo, M.D., and Abby Portuondo, with Olga Lazo and Nelson Lazo, CEO of Doctors Hospital

Baptist Health Foundation Board Chair Tomas Erban and Mary Rich

Eva and Robert Neuwelt

Jorge Perez, M.D., and Kerry Perez, with Debbie Taño and Albert Taño, M.D. Drs. Perez and Taño represent event sponsor Kidz Medical Services

Betty Anne and I.E. Schilling, with event sponsor Chary Korn

Lisa White and Reverend Dr. William White

Clare Banchs with Bill Banchs, CEO of Baptist Health Foundation

Baptist Health Foundation Board Treasurer, Bill Tillett, with Susan Tillett

Wayne Brackin, chief operating officer of Baptist Health, and Shaida Brackin, with Helen and Jacob Shaham

Michele Ryder, R.N., chief operating officer/chief nursing officer of Miami Cancer Institute, with Grace Wang, M.D. and Steve Pabalan, M.D.

Barry T. Katzen, M.D., founder and medical director of Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute, and Judith Katzen, with Bill and Rebecca Dickinson

Baptist Health Foundation Board Chair Emeritus, Rudy Kranys, with Lois Russell

Howard and Kathy Schrock

Award-winning journalist, Jennifer Valoppi, with Stephen Brunelle and Elizabeth Beracasa

Chary Korn, event sponsor and designer of decorated cow

Pam Barker and Yerby T. Barker, member of the Baptist Health Board of Trustees

Roberto Smith, with MGE Architects, and Anabella Smith

Carol and Al Novak with Rick and Bonnie Muller