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Cancer-Fighting Angel Ball Earns Its Halo

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It was the coming together of angels both temporal and spiritual at the recent Angel Ball, which was held at Cipriani Wall Street in Lower Manhattan to support Gabrielle's Angel Foundation for cancer research.

The host, Denise Rich, had personal reasons for founding the organization.

"It's to fund cancer research because it's much-needed funds. My daughter passed, 27 years old, and today she would be alive with all the strides that have been made," said Rich. "So we need to do more."

Rich is appropriately named, since she's a wealthy socialite who used to be married to Mark Rich, a trader who was pardoned by then-President Bill Clinton. She recently gave up her U.S. citizenship and will save millions in taxes by having done so.

This year's honoree is real estate broker and ex-model Bonnie Pfeifer Evans, the widow of Charles "Mr. Lucky" Evans, who produced Dustin Hoffman's 1982 film "Tootsie."

Whipple: Why is this particular charity important to you?

Evans: Well, my late husband, Charles Evans, died of a blood-related, non-cancerous disease called NBS, so I'm helping Denise underwrite all the research in that area because I feel that it's something that we all have to get a handle on, all of it. I mean, we want to be able to say to our children that, 'Remember when there was cancer in the old days?' you know, like we say, 'Remember when there was polio in the old days?'"

Denise Rich, a Grammy-nominated songwriter, pulled out all the stops for this ball, as Smokey Robinson and Natalie Cole were among the performers.

Whipple: Big performance tonight, are you looking forward to that?

Evans: Yeah! Smokey, Natalie, woo woo!

With $3 million raised to help fund cancer research, the evening really was a ball.

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