Celebrity Fight Night merges with Gateway for Cancer Research

Above: Jimmy Walker, founder of Celebrity Fight Night, earned the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Healthcare Leadership Awards. (Photo by Mike Mertes, AZ Big Media) Business News | 21 May |

Celebrity Fight Night Foundation, an internationally recognized philanthropic organization that has generated more than $90 million in charitable funding throughout its 27-year history, is merging with Gateway for Cancer Research, a global sponsor of innovative, patient-centric, clinical cancer research. The merger puts Gateway’s Chairman and Vice Chair, Richard J Stephenson and Dr. Stacie J. Stephenson, respectively, at the helm of the Phoenix-based Celebrity Fight Night organization, whose charity events are synonymous with star-studded support for advances in health and well-being. Celebrity Fight Night, whose work has supported a range of worthwhile causes, will now focus its firepower on defeating cancer, a devastating disease that annually takes the lives of millions of men, women, and children worldwide.


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“Stacie and I have been passionate supporters of Celebrity Fight Night and its tireless work to combat neurological disease and other devastating maladies,” said Mr. Stephenson, founder and chairman of the Board of Gateway for Cancer Research. “It is an honor to usher in the next era for an event that resonates with so many people and makes such a tremendous charitable impact.” Dr. Stacie Stephenson, Gateway’s Vice Chair, added, “My husband and I, joined by so many others, are on an unstoppable mission to end cancer as we know it. We support our mission with passion and a sense of urgency for the patients we serve. Bringing Celebrity Fight Night into the Gateway for Cancer Research family will do much to accelerate the realization of our vision, which is to create a world in which a cancer diagnosis is no longer feared.”

Mr. Stephenson is a global merchant banker and the founder and chairman of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, established in 1988 following the death of his mother, Mary Brown Stephenson, from cancer. To honor his mother’s life and legacy, Mr. Stephenson vowed to change the face of cancer care. He created a new model of treatment that transformed the way surgeons, oncologists, and other clinical professionals care for patients with cancer. This whole-person cancer treatment approach combined with a compassionate, nurturing environment is now known as the “Mother Standard of Care” and provides a uniquely patient-centered approach to cancer treatment.

With expertise in regenerative, functional, natural, and advanced lifestyle medicine—the hallmarks of healthful, energetic living—Dr. Stephenson spent 15 years in private practice. Today she serves as Chair of Functional Medicine at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Vice Chair of the board of directors for Gateway for Cancer Research. She is a noted speaker on the subject of health and wellness and the author of the newly released bestselling book, VIBRANT! A Ground Breaking Program to Get Energized, Own Your Health, and Glow. Just this month Childhelp honored Dr. Stephenson with the prestigious Woman of the World award.

As Founder of Celebrity Fight Night, Jimmy Walker has excelled in securing support and endorsements from noted celebrities like David Foster, Reba McEntire, Andrea Bocelli, Billy Crystal, Josh Groban and numerous others. That combined with many decades of passion has placed Celebrity Fight Night in a league of its own. Generosity from its numerous donors, including individuals like the Stephensons and charitable organizations such as The Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation were instrumental in furthering the reach and impact of Celebrity Fight Night. Also, sincere appreciation goes to the Celebrity Fight Night board members who were tremendously supportive throughout the years: Mark Cavanaugh, Jerry Colangelo, John Langbein, Harvey Mackay, and Nancy Walker.

“I would like to thank everyone who has made Celebrity Fight Night such a successful event and the foundation upon which so many friendships have been formed,” Walker said. “I look forward to cheering on the Stephensons and Gateway for Cancer Research as they carry on the important work of Celebrity Fight Night,” he concluded.

Celebrity Fight Night is distinguished for its affiliation with the legendary Muhammad Ali, who served as the gala’s guest of honor for two decades until his passing in 2016. “Muhammad and I were proud to be part of Celebrity Fight Night for more than 20 years,” said Lonnie Ali. “The legacy Jimmy created and the difference he made in the fight against Parkinson’s disease, as well as so many other important causes, will forever be recognized. We are grateful for Celebrity Fight Night’s significant role in establishing the world-class Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute.”

Sean Currie, who has been instrumental in advancing the fundraising success of Celebrity Fight Night since joining the organization in 1997, will continue to serve in his role as Executive Director. Michael Burton, Gateway for Cancer Research’s President and CEO, welcomed Mr. Currie to the Gateway family. “I have had the pleasure of getting to know Sean over the years and have long admired his high-impact work at Celebrity Fight Night. The team at Gateway for Cancer and I look forward to working closely with such a talented professional as we combine forces in our battle to defeat cancer once and for all.”

Planning for the next Celebrity Fight Night event is well underway. The highly anticipated affair, which is known for bringing A-list celebrities to Phoenix and raising in a single night millions of dollars in charitable funds, is slated for Saturday, March 12, 2022.

For more information on the gala, including sponsorships opportunities, please contact Sean Currie at [email protected].

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