UC San Diego News Center


SPARK Gala to ‘Ignite the Fight Against Cancer’ April 26

Annual UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center Gala will support new Hospital for Cancer Care at Jacobs Medical Center

Heather Headley

SPARK Gala, hosted by University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center, will rally the region to help make the future brighter for patients with cancer. Slated for Saturday, April 26 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine, the evening will feature a cocktail and wine-tasting reception, dinner and special performance by award-winning R&B singer and actress Heather Headley.

Net proceeds from SPARK—the 33rd annual Moores Cancer Center Gala—will be designated to the Hospital for Cancer Care at Jacobs Medical Center (opening in 2016), the only cancer-dedicated hospital in the San Diego region. Proceeds will be matched, dollar for dollar, through the Challenge for Jacobs Medical Center. In addition, net proceeds of the gala will be matched, dollar for dollar, by Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla and UC San Diego Health System to support patient care programs, clinical excellence and state-of-the-art research at Moores Cancer Center.

“Providing access to high-quality patient care is a priority for UC San Diego,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Proceeds from SPARK will help us to achieve our goal of translating leading-edge research into innovative care for patients with cancer, both in our own region and across the nation.”

While cancer is the second-leading cause of death for Americans, it is the number one cause for San Diegans. The new Hospital for Cancer Care, which will be situated on the same campus as Moores Cancer Center, will expand clinical care for patients with the addition of 108 inpatient beds.

SPARK Gala will benefit the new Hospital for Cancer Care at Jacobs Medical Center, set to open in 2016.

“The Hospital for Cancer Care will be the centerpiece for the development of transformative therapies for our patients with every form of cancer and will enable us to provide them with access to a broad array of leading-edge treatments and world-class specialists all at one place,” said Scott Lippman, M.D., director of UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. “It will strengthen our focus on developing therapies that are translated from research bench-to-bedside and back to help us achieve our goal of making personalized cancer care a reality in San Diego.”

Co-chairing the gala are Amy and Bill Koman; Magda Marquet, Ph.D.; and François Ferré, Ph.D. In addition, Joan and Irwin Jacobs—whose family made the original $75 million naming gift for Jacobs Medical Center—are the gala’s honorary chairs.

“Joan and I are increasingly excited with the rapid progress of the Jacobs Medical Center, especially now that we can admire its nearly complete exterior,” said Irwin Jacobs. “The three new hospitals that constitute the center will greatly enhance healthcare for patients from our region and beyond.

“The outstanding facilities and staff will allow researchers from UC San Diego and neighboring institutions to more rapidly translate the latest results from biology and engineering to effective treatments for cancer and other diseases. We are pleased to be part of an engaged San Diego community who have come together at this event to advance cancer care.”

SPARK will feature a performance by special guest Heather Headley. Originally from the Caribbean island of Trinidad, Headley made her Broadway debut in 1997 when she starred in “The Lion King.” She went on to garner numerous awards, including a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her leading role in “Aida.” As a recording artist, Headley rose to the top of the pop charts with her 2002 debut album, “This is Who I Am.” She took her first foray into gospel music in 2009, earning a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album. Headley has also displayed versatility as a classical music singer, performing alongside Andrea Boccelli.

SPARK Gala begins at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail and wine-tasting reception, followed by dinner and performance by Headley. An after-party with dancing will cap off the night. Individual tickets are $500 and sponsorships are available. For details and reservations, visit or call (858) 534-6769. For more information about UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, visit

Media Contact

Kristin Schafgans, 858-822-3353, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

UC San Diego’s Studio Ten 300 offers radio and television connections for media interviews with our faculty. For more information, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).