The American Cancer Society’s annual California Spirit Food & Wine Benefit was held on October 9. Co-chairs were long-time ACS volunteers and Pacific Palisades residents Sue and Anthony Marguleas, who met nearly three decades ago when Sue was a pediatric nurse and treated Anthony, who was undergoing cancer treatments.
“As a cancer survivor, it’s incredibly important for me and my family to give back to the American Cancer Society,” said Anthony. “I am so honored to be co-chairing with my wife, who saw me through every step of my cancer treatment years ago. Together, our goal is to raise funds to support research, early detection, and education to eradicate cancer and give others a chance for the same happy ending we have.”
Due to COVID-19, the annual outdoor gala was a virtual, interactive dinner party featuring a gourmet multi-course meal prepared by acclaimed celebrity Chef Ludo Lefebvre.
The Chef’s award-winning restaurant, Petit Trios, prepared 200 multi-course meals that were delivered by Postmates. Chef Ludo walked 200 guests through his 5-star plating, and they enjoyed cocktails with Mixologist Charlotte Voisey.
Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb performed, and special appearances were made by American Cancer Society CEO Gary Reedy, Sherry Lansing & Phil Rosenthal.
Lansing, an honorary co-chair, is the former CEO of Paramount Pictures. She was the first woman to head a Hollywood movie studio; prior to Paramount she was the president of production at 20th Century Fox. Lansing co-founded California Spirit in 1984 as her way to give back after her mother died from ovarian cancer. She has remained committed to the event throughout its 35-year history.
Lansing’s honorary co-chair, Rosenthal, is a 15-time Emmy Award-winning creator and writer for “Everyone Loves Raymond,” “Spanglish,” and “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having.” He is currently starring in “Somebody Feed Phil” (Season 3) on Netflix.
Decades ago, when Anthony Marguleas was 26, he was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare soft-tissue cancer typically seen in young children. Initially he was at Stanford Hospital. Despite his adult age, Anthony was moved to the Children’s Hospital because of his type of cancer.
His future wife, Sue Hammes, was a 25-year-old nurse when the new Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford opened its doors in June 1991 in Palo Alto.
Soon after Marguleas arrival, Sue was assigned as his primary nurse. Because Anthony was extremely sick (down to 98 pounds) from the chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she spent a great deal of time caring for him.
Anthony’s identical twin brother, Brian, donated bone marrow and the transplant was a success.
Sue and Anthony fell in love, got married and had four children – Max, Sam, and twins Jack and Anna. The couple has been married for 27 years.
In 1995, Anthony founded Amalfi Estates, a residential real estate brokerage in Pacific Palisades. Sue is a part-time nurse at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Anthony’s cancer was a call-to-action for the family, who continue to play an important role in awareness and fund-raising.
Anthony’s father, Howard, was the first president of the American Cancer Society Foundation. His mother, Ardith, was involved in the Desert Chapter of the ACS. Their son, Sam, fundraises through the Relay-For-Life event.
Sue and Anthony spoke at the ACS Kick-Off in 1994 and have been active with the California Spirit food & wine benefit. Anthony’s company donates 10% of commissions from home sales to select charities, one of which is the American Cancer Society. In the past few years, the company has donated nearly $200,000 to ACS.
This event raised $250,000, and donations are still being accepted at www.calspirit.org.
Sponsors for California Spirit included: Amalfi Estates; Cedars Sinai Medical Center; Don Levin Trust & Edna and Tom Gordon; Jody & John McNamee; Houck Construction Inc.; Phil and Monica Rosenthal; The Sherry Lansing Foundation; The Stephenson Family; Southern California Gas Company; Torrance Memorial Medical Center; Torrance Memorial Medical Center and Pluto TV.