The USC Institute of Urology, one of the nation’s top-ranked urology programs, honored Derrick Hall, president and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks major league baseball franchise, a native son of Los Angeles and a prostate cancer survivor and advocate, with the inaugural Louis Zamperini Courage Award at its annual “Changing Lives and Creating Cures” gala, Thursday, Nov. 20, at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Beverly Hills, raising more than $2 million.
The event hosts included C. L. Max Nikias, president of the University of Southern California (USC); Carmen A. Puliafito, M.D., MBA, dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC; Jeff Small, president and COO of DreamWorks Studios; and Inderbir S. Gill, M.D, executive director of the USC Institute of Urology. The evening’s presenting sponsors, Tom and Holly Gores with Platinum Equity, were joined by Tina and Rick Caruso and Randy and Ken Kendrick as honorary co-chairs.
Puliafito welcomed the more than 600 guests before introducing the evening’s emcee, actor, comedian and “Saturday Night Live” alum Joe Piscopo, providing some lively quips before turning the show over to Gill, who thanked the many supporters and spoke of the extraordinary work that is being done at the USC Institute of Urology, sharing a video celebrating department highlights and recognizing staff. Nikias then joined the stage, adding his comments on the life-saving accomplishments of the institute.
Jay Leno’s stand-up comedy monologue was greeted with non-stop laughter, and nine-time Grammy winner Sheryl Crow, herself a cancer survivor, brought the crowd to its feet with performances of her chart-topping songs “All I Wanna Do” and “Every Day is a Winding Road.”
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the inaugural Louis Zamperini Courage Award to Derrick Hall. DreamWorks’ Jeff Small, Puliafito and Gill joined Luke Zamperini, the son of Louis Zamperini, the famous USC alumnus, U.S. Olympian, World War II P.O.W. survivor and prostate cancer patient of the USC Institute of Urology, to present Hall with the award named in honor of his father.
“Derrick Hall is a well-known leader on and off the baseball field,” said Gill. “He faced his greatest personal challenge when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011, just as his team was battling for a division title. When he immediately went public, encouraging other men to get tested after age 40, he showcased the courage and resilience that exemplifies the spirit of Louis Zamperini and this award.”
Now cancer-free, Hall has become a tireless advocate of cancer-fighting charities including his recently formed Derrick Hall Pro-State Foundation, created to support patients and families battling prostate cancer.
The Louis Zamperini Courage Award embodies the spirit of a hero who faced life’s toughest tests and challenges and showcased the courage that survivors need. Zamperini is the subject of the best-selling book, “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand and major motion picture of the same name premiering December 25 and directed by another example of courage in the face of cancer, Angelina Jolie.
ABOUT THE USC INSTITUTE OF UROLOGY
Part of Keck Medicine of USC, the USC Institute of Urology and the Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology at Keck School of Medicine of USC are ranked in the Top 20 of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals.” Providing comprehensive expertise for the complete range of urologic disorders, the USC Institute of Urology is comprised of over 65 passionate and skilled faculty surgeons, research scientists, residents and fellows under the direction of its founder, professor and chair, Inderbir Gill, M.D. As international leaders in advanced robotic and open surgery for urological cancers such as kidney, prostate and bladder, as well as female pelvic reconstructive surgery, pediatric urological surgery male infertility, kidney stone disease, the USC Institute of Urology remains committed to comprehensive, world-class urologic care, delivered in an exceptional, personalized, “patients first” setting. For more information, go to urology.keckmedicine.org.