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08 December 2013


Proceeds to Benefit World-Renowned Research/Treatment Center for Liver Diseases

ST. LOUIS The Friends of the Saint Louis University Liver Center invite the public in joining them as they celebrate the 11th Annual “Diamonds” Gala. This year’s event – entitled Friends shine like Diamonds – will be held from 5:30 until 11:00 pm on Saturday, November 16, 2013 in the magnificent Khorassan Room at The Chase Park Plaza, located at 212 N. Kingshighway in the Central West End area of St. Louis, Missouri.

Since 2002, the Friends organization has held the annual “Diamonds” Gala in support of the world-renowned Saint Louis University Liver Center and the life-saving research and treatment they provide to patients from all over the world.

The evening’s festivities will include a cocktail reception, a sumptuous three-course sit-down dinner, and both a live and silent auction with fabulous prizes. The Friends are planning a special presentation highlighting the life-saving research, and the life-changing treatments and cures provided by the Saint Louis University Liver Center researchers and physicians. Guests will close out the evening with dancing to the live music of The Ralph Butler Band.

KSDK Newschannel 5’s Julie Tristan is the Emcee for the 2013 “Diamonds” Gala. There will also be the annual presentations of “The 2013 Naomi Judd Award” and the “Volunteer of the Year Award”.

The “Diamonds” Gala event is the annual signature fundraiser of the Friends organization, which supports the research efforts of the world-renowned Saint Louis University Liver Center for the treatment and cure of liver diseases, and promotes understanding and awareness of liver disease. All money raised by the organization stays in the St. Louis area to perform life-saving research and treat patients in St. Louis.

One of the Saint Louis University Liver Center’s better-known patients is Naomi Judd, who was part of the Grammy-winning duo “The Judds” and is a best-selling author and motivational speaker. After being diagnosed with hepatitis C and given just three years to live, Naomi Judd became a patient at the Saint Louis University Liver Center and credits co-founder Dr. Bruce R. Bacon and his team for saving her life.

Dr. Bacon, co-director of the Saint Louis University Liver Center, notes, “The work that both the doctors and researchers have been able to accomplish at the Saint Louis University Liver Center, with the support of the Friends organization, has resulted in the cure of hundreds of hepatitis C patients with medications that have not yet become commercially available and at no cost to the patient.”

Bacon continues, “Each day we are discovering that more people are suffering from liver disease, including hepatitis C and B, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, autoimmune liver disease and liver cancer. Many believe there’s little hope after being diagnosed, but there are new treatments available and there is hope.”

Bacon believes there are critical reasons to support the fundraising efforts of the Friends of the Saint Louis University Liver Center:

– Over 25 million, or one in ten Americans are or have been affected by liver or biliary diseases.

– Liver disease – including hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer – is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

– There are more than 20 liver diseases which are currently diagnosed and for which there are treatments.

– The most prevalent liver disease is hepatitis C, which affects over 5 million people in the United States, and 45,000 people in St. Louis alone.

– One in 60 people have hepatitis C and nearly two-thirds of those people don’t know they have it. It is called the “silent epidemic” because it can infect people for long periods of time without obvious symptoms

– Hepatitis C can be diagnosed through a simple blood test and is curable in about 75 percent of patients.

– The Saint Louis University Liver Center enjoys worldwide recognition as a center of excellence for research and treatment of liver diseases.

– All the money raised by the Friends of the Saint Louis University Liver Center stays in our region to support local research and treatment.

The Friends organization has raised and donated more than $2.7 million for the Saint Louis University Liver Center since its inception. The funds help support the critical infrastructure of the Liver Center from faculty salaries to visiting professorships and patient-oriented seminars and research. By leveraging the donations of the Friends, the Liver Center is able to use the funds as “seed grants” for investigators to gather preliminary research data that in turn generates larger grants from outside sources. This seed grant process has generated $18 new dollars from outside the region for every $1 raised locally.

Tickets for the 2013 “Diamonds” Gala are $200 per person, or a table of ten is available for $2,000.

In order to continue supporting the life-saving research and treatment options made available through the Saint Louis University Liver Center, the Friends organization is soliciting for additional corporate sponsors at various investment levels for the fundraising gala.

Current sponsors for the 2013 event include the following companies:

  • Gold Sponsors
    Gilead Pharmaceuticals
    Kadmon Pharmaceuticals, LLC
    Saint Louis University Hospital
    Special Design Health Care

  • Silver Sponsors
    Alberici Foundation
    Express Scripts, Inc.
    Salix Pharmaceuticals


  • Bronze Sponsors
    Dowd Bennett LLC
    Mid America TransplantServices
    Renaissance Financial Corporation
    Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Sponsorship information and ticket reservations are available through the Friends office by calling 314-576-3078 or email

Additional information about the 11th Annual “Diamonds” Gala in the Khorassan Room at The Chase Park Plaza can be found at the Friends of the Saint Louis University Liver Center’s website at

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