(Oklahoma City) -- The Sooner Chapter's Oklahoma City Office of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is pleased to announce that movie director James Cameron and his wife Suzy Amis Cameron will serve as honorary chairs for the 2010 Breath of Life Gala on Nov. 19, 2010. James Cameron is best known for directing Avatar and Titanic the two highest-grossing films of all time. The Camerons will assist in hosting the fundraising event and honoring the evening's special guests, including:
- Corporate Honoree: Chesapeake Energy Corp.
- Breath of Life Award recipients: Jeannette and Dick Sias
- David Kenworthy Kerr Award recipient: Jackie Miller
James Cameron is described by The New York Times as "the top-tiered action director of his generation." He was also recently named by Forbes as the most powerful man in Hollywood. "There have been few movies that have fundamentally changed Hollywood like his recent blockbuster, Avatar," Forbes wrote.
Suzy Amis Cameron is a native Oklahoman who left the area to pursue a modeling and acting career. She has appeared in many feature films, including The Usual Suspects and Titanic. In addition to her acting career, she is the founder of MUSE school, a progressive, nonprofit school in the Topanga hills of Los Angeles.
"Our nephew has cystic fibrosis, and we have witnessed first-hand the daily challenges each person with CF has to overcome," Suzy Amis Cameron said. "When he was born, people with cystic fibrosis often did not live to graduate from high school. Remarkably, our nephew is now 24. The medical advances supported by the CF Foundation have given people with CF the ability to live longer, fuller lives. We are honored to be a part of ensuring that this progress moves forward."
Cystic fibrosis is a fatal genetic disease that causes severe lung infections and premature death. About 30,000 people in the United States, and 70,000 people worldwide, have CF.
During the event, Chesapeake Energy Corp. will be honored for its involvement in supporting the CF Foundation's research, care and education programs. Aubrey K. McClendon, chairperson and CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp., says he was inspired by his cousin who courageously fought the disease.
"As scientific advancements in treatment for cystic fibrosis are rapidly progressing, it is a privilege for Chesapeake to partner with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at a time in history when the hope for a cure is tangible," he said.
The Breath of Life Award will be presented to Jeannette and Dick Sias, devoted volunteers from the Sooner-Oklahoma City CF Foundation chapter. "The Sias family has faithfully supported our chapter since we opened the office in Oklahoma City in 2003," said Mark Harvey, M.D., president of the chapter's Leadership Board. "We have raised more than $3 million to support CF research, care and education programs, and this would not have been possible without the Sias family and their willingness to be a part of our cause."
Jackie Miller will be presented with the 2010 David Kenworthy Kerr Award, to recognize her triumphant spirit in fighting and living with cystic fibrosis.
Miller, 27, lettered all four years as a Division I cross-track athlete at the University of Oklahoma and served as the team's captain. She was given the coveted Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup and was the first athlete in the university's history to win all four major awards at the Scholar-Athlete Honors Breakfast in 2006. In addition, Miller was nominated for the university's NCAA Woman of the Year and Inspiration awards. Miller is married and has a child.
Mrs. Oklahoma, Alyssa Siler, will also attend the gala. Siler and her husband Ryan, whose 4-year-old daughter has cystic fibrosis, have served in key leadership positions for this event and others hosted by the Sooner Chapter - Oklahoma City Office. "In the blur of the initial news that our daughter had CF, I remember my physician saying that the median age of survival was in the mid-thirties. Everything in me stood on edge, and I said to myself: 'That is not okay with me.' At that point, I vowed to do everything in my power to give our daughter hope for a long life," Siler said.
The Breath of Life Gala will be held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Following the awards program, guests will bid on items in a live and silent auction that will raise critical funds for CF care, research and education. Souled Out will provide entertainment for the remainder of the evening. Proceeds will benefit the CF Foundation.
About the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the world's leader in the search for a cure for cystic fibrosis. The Foundation funds more CF research than any other organization, and nearly every CF drug available today was made possible because of Foundation support. Based in Bethesda, Md., the Foundation also supports and accredits a national care center network that has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a model of care for a chronic disease.
Celia Palmer, executive director, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Sooner Chapter - Oklahoma City Office: 405-787-0056.