American Cancer Society Digital Gala Rallies and Raises $1.85 Million with Nearly 1,000 Attendees Fighting the Disease


CHICAGO, May 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Chicagoans, joined by friends from across the country and around the world, have sent a clear message: cancer hasn't stopped, and neither will we.

The 2020 Digital Discovery Ball, the American Cancer Society's first-ever, large-scale virtual gala in Chicago, was a pivot for the organization though creativity and determination paid off. More importantly, money raised will go to the Society's mission priorities of supporting the Hope Lodge COVID-19 fund and cancer research. In Illinois, over 70,000 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2020, so the need for answers is urgent.

"We were guided by our theme 'Be Bold and Rise Up', and that's exactly what we did by raising $1.85 million," said Michael Ziener, Executive Director. In the organization's original projections, the ball was expected to take a 40-50% loss. Strong commitments from the corporate community and individual gifts reversed the trend, contributing to nearly $38 million raised since the event started 14 years ago.

"The genuine support and compassionate hearts of our volunteer leaders, supporters and everyone touched by cancer made this a success."

ACS secured funds through pre-solicited sponsorships, night of online auction and live donations, including an IL Area Board Match. The event funds breakthrough research, advocacy and a 24/7 helpline (800-227-2345), which has contributed to a 29% decrease in cancer death rates between 1991-2017. Powerhouse tech giants Salesforce and G2 supported the society by mobilizing their companies as this year's Discovery Ball sponsors.

"COVID(-19) does not stop cancer. Therefore the mission of the American Cancer Society must continue," said Tyler Prince, EVP of Salesforce, who was joined by his co-chair of the event, Godard Abel, CEO of G2. "Their single goal is to free the world from cancer. So, it's critical that we continue to fund the mission of the American Cancer Society."

Tuxedos and gowns were traded in for virtual cocktails and a digital celebration, and many learned about the Society's mission of saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. Appearances included Mayor Lori Lightfoot and ACS CEO Gary Reedy.

Learn about the Discovery Ball:

Contact: James Haenes,, 312-960-2327 |

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SOURCE American Cancer Society in Illinois


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