5th Annual “Best Things in Life” Dinner

Saturday, 24 August 2013 Posted in Past Events, 2013

The Ivy on George Street, Sydney was once again the glittering venue for our 5th annual “Best Things in Life” Dinner on 22 August 2013.

Co-hosted by Woolworths and Coca-Cola Amatil, the evening brought together almost 280 people from leading companies across Australia. The guests supported both the silent and live auctions resulting in an amazing $200,000 being raised from the event.

We are very grateful for the continued support of Woolworths and Coca-Cola Amatil and all of their executives and staff who helped make the evening such a success. There were many companies represented who have attended the event over the years and we thank them too for their continued support. We were also delighted to welcome some new companies to the dinner.

Caroline Kelly told the personal story that led to the establishment of the Foundation. She thanked the companies that attended and explained how their support has led to the increased visibility, funds raised and investment in innovative, quality research and support services.

Caroline talked of some of the fundraising activities such as the “Put Your Foot Down Walks” held in 5 States, Avner’s Deep Spring water which has contributed more than $600,000 to research, and “Avner’s Hope” roses on sale at Masters Home Improvement. Caroline thanked Wellcom who have generously matched the profits raised at each of the “Put Your Foot Down” walks since October 2011.”

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  • The room once again bathed in purple light for the 2013 dinner.

  • Avner's "Best things in Life" table setting set the scene for the night.

  • Foundation Director Grant O'Brien opened proceedings and spoke of his friend Avner Nahmani.

  • Foundation Co-founder Caroline Kelly shared some personal moments and updated us on Foundation initiatives.

  • Our MC Peter FitzSimons entertained and kept proceedings flowing.

  • An update on a new Pancreatic Cancer initiative of the Foundation by Ambassador Dr Norman Swan.

  • Peter FitzSimons and new Foundation Ambassador Claire Harvey shared stories of her father Peter.

  • Foundation Ambassadors and Directors - Dr Norman Swan, Grant O'Brien, Warwick White, Caroline Kelly, Claire Harvey and Peter Hosking.

  • Comedian Tom Gleeson had everyone laughing.

  • Once again the Silent Auction was popular.

  • Auctioneer Andrew Caillard in full flight during the 'live' auction.

Our Ambassador Dr Norman Swan, ABC host gave an inspiring speech on the next initiative of the Foundation – the development of a National Pancreatic Cancer Research Strategy. It is the first of its kind that has gained widespread interest from researchers and other funding organisations.

During his speech Grant O’Brien spoke movingly of his friendship with Avner Nahmani during their many years of working together at Woolworths. He reflected that loyalty had been one of Avner’s key attributes and this is what drives him to make the work of the Foundation count.

Avner’s Foundation newest Ambassador, Claire Harvey, joined MC Peter FitzSimons on stage to share some warm, funny stories about her dad, the late Peter Harvey.

Guests included Jeremy Humphris, Gastroenterologist and PhD student who is the recipient of the first Avner’s Foundation scholarship. He is working on using genomic sequencing of the Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genomic Initiative (APGI) to detect and understand inherited (familial) cancer genes.

After dinner, the audience was entertained by the hilarious comedian Tom Gleeson and skilled auctioneer Andrew Caillard kept the momentum going throughout the auction and achieved some tremendous results!

At the close of the evening, Warwick White thanked the many companies that were represented at the dinner and announced the amount raised.

The evening was a huge success and special thanks must go to Donna Patchett for her sterling organisational skills, but also to Kerry Andrews, Maysoon El-Ahmad, Scott Eames, Lisa Manzo, Louise Culbert and Lynne Umbers whose contribution behind the scenes is much appreciated.

Thanks to all our corporate supporters who have continued to make the “Best Things in Life” dinner such a huge success:

Woolworths Limited, Coca-Cola Amatil, ANZ International & Institutional Banking, Murray Goulburn, McKinsey & Company, Inghams Enterprises, NAB Institutional Banking, Visa, Labelmakers Group, Wellcom, SAP Australia, PwC, Ernst & Young, Johnson & Johnson, Beak & Johnson, Nestle, Clayton Utz, Allens, FIS Australasia, Quantium, Unilever Australasia, Blackhawk Network Australia/NZ, American Express Australia, Jack Morton, Goodman Fielder, Commonwealth Bank and Gilbert + Tobin

Check out the Photo Gallery of the night by clicking here.