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26 September 2014



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 12th Annual Diamonds Gala. This year’s event – entitled “Carnival at the Coronado” – will be held from 5:30 until 11:00 pm on Saturday, November 15, 2014 at the magnificent Coronado Ballroom, located at 3701 Lindell Boulevard, next to the Saint Louis University campus.

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.

This year’s Diamonds Gala has a vintage Carnival theme, and evening’s festivities will include a cocktail reception with Carnival games, a sumptuous three-course sit-down dinner, and a live auction with fabulous prizes. The Friends are planning a special video presentation highlighting the Saint Louis University Liver Center researchers and physicians – and featuring vignettes of the patients who have been successfully treated, along with their families.

KSDK Newschannel 5’s Pat McGonigle is the Emcee for the 2014 “Diamonds” Gala. There will also be the annual presentations of “The 2014 Naomi Judd Award” and the “Volunteer of the Year Award”.

Tickets for the 2014 “Diamonds” Gala are $200 per person, or a table of ten is available for $2,000.

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 35 million Americans, or one in ten, are or have been affected by liver or biliary diseases.  This includes fatty liver disease, hepatitis C, hepatitis B, alcoholic liver disease, and other liver diseases.

–          The most prevalent liver condition is fatty liver disease, which affects over 25 million people in the United States.

–          Liver disease – including hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer – is the 8th leading cause of death in the United States.

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


–          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 over 90 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 $2.9 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.


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 2014 event include the following companies:

Platinum Sponsor –  Gilead      Pharmaceuticals

 Gold Sponsors –             Aureus Health Services

Saint Louis University Hospital

 Silver Sponsors       Bristol-Myers Squibb

Express Scripts, Inc.

                                    Salix Pharmaceuticals

Bronze Sponsors –    Alberici      Foundation

Dowd Bennett LLC

            Mid America Transplant Services

            Quest Diagnostics

            Renaissance Financial Corporation

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

Additional information about the 12th Annual Diamonds Gala – “Carnival at the Coronado” – is available on the Friends’ website at



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