Gala honors County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and businesswoman Anne-Merelie Murrell

November 09, 2010

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 9, 2010) - The Blueprint for Discovery Gala was another big success as the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) honored Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Anne-Merelie Murrell, president of Giroux Glass Company, Inc., on Oct. 30 at the Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas received the LA BioMed Spirit of Excellence Award for Community Service, and Mrs. Murrell was the recipient of the LA BioMed Spirit of Excellence Award for Inspirational Leadership.

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the Abraxis BioScience CEO who has also performed pioneering transplant surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, introduced the supervisor, praising him for his mission to eliminate disparities in access and good health care.

"If there is really a single word that describes Mark Ridley-Thomas, that is service," Dr. Soon-Shiong said. "Mark Ridley-Thomas is someone who gets things done...He understands completely that all that matters is results."

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has served the community as a teacher, a community leader, a member of the Los Angeles City Council, a member of the California Senate and - since 2008 - as a county supervisor. He has been a strong advocate for LA BioMed, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and medical care to the underserved.

Supervisor Ridley Thomas congratulated LA BioMed on its service to the underserved through its Immunize LA Families program to increase immunization rates in South Los Angeles, its South Bay Perinatal Program, its Women's Health Care Clinic and much more.

"LA BioMed itself is a treasure because of its creative way of forming partnerships and its innovative ways of conducting scientific research," he said. "I look forward to our future collaboration because the best is yet to come."

LA BioMed President and CEO David I. Meyer, PhD, introduced Mrs. Murrell as an "inspirational leader" who launched the successful UCLA Thrift store in the 1960's and achieved success as a real estate investor and President of Giroux Glass.

Mrs. Murrell was the youngest president of the UCLA Medical Center Auxiliary, a support group of more than 1,000 volunteers that provides financial aid and assistance to patients and their families. She conceived of and directed the founding of the UCLA Medical Thrift Shop, which has contributed close to $6 million to the hospital over the years. Her company employs 200 inner-city residents, and she has put together a succession plan that transfers ownership of Giroux Glass to the employees.

Former Olympian Rafer Johnson and his wife, Betsy Johnson, were the honorary chairs for the event, and Mr. Johnson congratulated LA BioMed on its many achievements.

"In my association with LA BioMed, I recognize in your leadership and your investigators the same dedication, perseverance and sense of vision necessary to achieve your goal of becoming one of the preeminent biomedical research institutions in our country," he said. "By the number of people assembled in this room, I can tell that there are many others who share my appreciation of what LA BioMed does for our community."

Nearly 500 guests at the Blueprint for Discovery Gala enjoyed dinner, dancing to the John Brown Band and a silent and live auction featuring fine wines, a Windstar cruise, a Goodyear blimp ride, "Dinner with a Doc," great getaways and much more. The gala also featured Discovery Showcases, which provided a sampling of the innovative research underway at LA BioMed.

"Thanks so much to Jennifer Laity and Joyce Brown, the co-chairs for the gala, and to the other members of the Foundation Board who gave so generously of their time and resources," said Dr. Meyer. "I wish to express my appreciation to our sponsors who donated so generously and to the LA BioMed Board of Directors, investigators and our other colleagues who supported the event. A special thanks to our colleagues in the LA BioMed Development office who oversaw the event from start to finish and to the Teens for LA BioMed who volunteered their help for the evening. Together, they created a very memorable evening."
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About LA BioMed

Founded in 1952, LA BioMed is one of the country's leading nonprofit independent biomedical research institutes. It has more than 150 principal researchers conducting studies into improved treatments and cures for cancer, inherited diseases, infectious diseases, illnesses caused by environmental factors and more. It also educates young scientists and provides community services, including immunization and childhood nutrition programs. LA BioMed is academically affiliated with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and located on the campus of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. For more information, please visit www.LABioMed.org

LA BioMed

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