The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation honored William M. Raveis, Jr., Chairman and CEO, William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance, for his transformational support and commitment to raising funds and awareness for Damon Runyon.

The Annual Breakfast, held at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City on June 5, raised over $1.1 million to support brave and bold scientists pursuing innovative strategies to prevent, diagnose and treat all forms of cancer.

“Our scientists are at the heart of everything we do,” said Yung S. Lie, PhD, President and CEO of Damon Runyon. “We fund high-risk, high-reward research, and our focus is on brilliant, young scientists. They are the future leaders of their fields.”

Alan M. Leventhal, Chair of Damon Runyon’s Board of Directors, commended Raveis’ steadfast support of cancer research. “Bill has built a great business with passion, commitment to excellence and brilliance. Sound familiar? That’s Damon Runyon. That’s what our scientists do. Bill brings the same passion to cancer research.”

Mr. Raveis launched William Raveis Real Estate in 1974 in a single office above a grocery store in Fairfield, Connecticut. Today, William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance (WRRE) is the top family-owned real estate company spanning the Northeast and Florida, and the seventh largest independent real estate company in the United States with a powerful network of more than 4,100 talented sales associates across 134 offices in nine states. 

 “In starting your own business as well as in cancer research, there are a lot of unknowns,” said Raveis. “The journey has a lot of pitfalls and at times is not fun but having the desire to achieve your vision pushes you through all the ups and downs. It is about more than money — it’s about who you are and what you want to do with your life.”

Cancer hit home twice for Mr. Raveis when his friend and then later his wife, Candy, were diagnosed. He had a conversation with his family about how they could be proactive and give back in a meaningful way. In 2015, the company’s Charitable Fund launched the William Raveis Ride + Walk — an event held in Fairfield County that has raised more than $2 million and funded 16 Damon Runyon scientists with William Raveis Charitable Fund Fellowships. Raveis joined the Damon Runyon Board of Directors in 2016.

“Damon Runyon is a very special place,” Raveis said. “The scientists are brilliant people. I am truly dedicated to this organization.”

Damon Runyon Board Member John H. Myers introduced Raveis, his longtime friend, and announced a new award in his honor. The Candy and William Raveis Fellow is Jessie Brown, PhD, of Columbia University Medical Center, whose research focuses on understanding drug resistance and relapse in acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Guests also heard from Megan Insco, MD, PhD, a Damon Runyon-William Raveis Charitable Fund Fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital, about new approaches to melanoma treatment, and Omar Abdel-Wahab, MD, former Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, on his research focusing on genetic alterations in blood cancers.

This post was originally published by Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. It is republished with permission.