Hollywood Reporter, Staff Writer Chris Gardner to Be Honored at ALS Gala

Courtesy of ALS Association; Ramona Rosales
Dr. Justin Ichida (left), THR staff writer Chris Gardner

THR and Gardner will take home the Spotlight Award from the ALS Association Golden West Chapter at the org's Dec. 2 gala in Santa Monica, where Dr. Justin Ichida of USC and the Tanzman family will also be honored.

The ALS Association Golden West Chapter is shining a light on The Hollywood Reporter's coverage of the disease by presenting the publication and award-winning staff writer Chris Gardner with a Spotlight Award at its upcoming awards event. 

Set for Dec. 2 at Santa Monica's famed Fairmont Miramar Hotel, the 2017 Champions for Care and a Cure Celebration will feature a program that includes wine tasting, gourmet dinner, auction, entertainment and presentations of the Golden West Chapter's Essey Awards "to notable heroes of the ALS community." The Essey Awards — named in honor of one of the Golden West Chapter’s founders, Richard "Dick" Essey — are doled out annually to recognize those who support the chapter's mission priorities in ALS research, care services and public policy initiatives.

THR and Gardner are being singled out for continued coverage of Hollywood power publicist Nanci Ryder's brave battle with ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, the progressive neurodegenerative illness that is always fatal. In October 2014, Ryder exclusively revealed in the pages of the magazine that she had been diagnosed with the disease. Since that time, the co-founder of BWR Public Relations has offered yearly updates to Gardner detailing the progression of her illness.

He has also tracked the efforts of her "Team Nanci" members — including industry heavyweights Renee Zellweger, Courteney Cox, Reese Witherspoon, Jeffrey Katzenberg and CAA's Kevin Huvane and Bryan Lourd, among dozens of others — in raising awareness and funds through the annual Walk to Defeat ALS events, one of the many fundraising initiatives of the Golden West Chapter.

In making the announcement, the Golden West Chapter praised THR and Gardner for their efforts and commitment to raise ALS awareness through "compassionate" coverage. Set to share the stage that evening will be fellow honorees Dr. Justin Ichida and the Tanzman family. 

Ichida will be honored with the Essey Commitment to a Cure Award for his outstanding achievements in the fight against ALS. Ichida, a member of the California ALS Research Network, is an assistant professor of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine at the University of Southern California and a New York Stem Cell Foundation-Robertson Investigator. The Tanzmans — Joy, Susan, Debbi and Ron — will be feted with the Cornerstone Award for their unwavering support of the ALS community through the Golden West Chapter’s fundraising, awareness and advocacy initiatives over the past 15 years.

Proceeds from Champions for Care and a Cure will provide funding for The ALS Association Golden West Chapter’s mission priorities. For tickets and more information, click here.

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