Newswise — LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A Louisville couple committed to improving the quality of life for people facing cancer have lent their support to The Julep Ball.
Charlie and Lisa Dahlem have been named the honorary chairs of the event, set for Friday, May 2, at the KFC Yum! Center. An Official Event of the 140th Kentucky Derby® and the premiere Derby Eve Party with a Purpose, The Julep Ball provides a celebrity-studded night to remember with a multi-course seated dinner, a knock-your-socks-off auction, multiple open specialty bars, complimentary valet parking, and dancing until the wee hours of Derby morning.
More than 1,300 guests are expected to attend, but as big a party as The Julep Ball is, it has an even bigger purpose: to support the clinicians, researchers and patients of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville.
That purpose was a natural fit for the Dahlems. Charlie’s mother, Debby Blair Dahlem, died in Florida two years ago from cancer, and the family established the Debby Dahlem Fund for Cancer at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center in her memory to help patients.
“My mom had family to help her through her treatment but she would say, ‘what do people do who don’t have the support network I have?’ She was always concerned about people who had issues that got in the way of getting treatment – bus fare, child care – things that interfered with their ability to get the care they needed. She was greatly concerned about that so we set up the fund, and the cancer center staff identify people who need help and that money goes directly where it is needed,” said Charlie.
“The way we feel is the way a lot of people feel: Most people will be affected by cancer in their lifetime,” Lisa said. “So, to have the kind of research and treatment facility like the Brown Cancer Center in your city is ideal. We have the resources you need so you don’t have to go anywhere else.”
The Dahlems have taken the role of honorary chairs beyond usual expectations, enlisting volunteers and raising funds to support the event as well as Lisa’s work to help plan the event. They have attended the event in the past and seen how it has evolved.
“Becoming an Official Event of the Kentucky Derby is the best you can get,” Lisa said. “At the ball, you get a red-carpet feeling the moment you enter the KFC Yum! Center. You’ll have a spectacular view, the best entertainment in the country and be elbow-to-elbow with celebrities. It’s a great experience.”
“They’ve taken this huge cavernous facility and made it a nice intimate setting,” Charlie said. “You get to have dinner on the floor of the Yum! Center and the celebrities aren’t roped off; they sit with you and you get to meet them.”
Adds Lisa: “And we always have some great celebrities who are very engaged and interested in what the cancer center is doing. The great thing is that the ball puts everyone into contact with the researchers, physicians and other staff who work tirelessly every day to fight cancer and make people’s lives better.”
The Dahlems are well known leaders in their city. Charlie is president of Dahlem Co. Inc. and with his twin brother Jim, makes up the third generation at the helm of one of Louisville’s leading commercial real estate businesses.
Their ties to UofL run strong: Charlie volunteers his time and expertise as a member of the UofL Board of Overseers, a group of community leaders that provides advice and counsel to the university. Lisa has volunteered with Family Scholar House, an organization that works to end the cycle of poverty by giving single parents support in earning four-year college degrees.
They also are involved with Hosparus, which provides hospice and palliative care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. As with Hosparus, the desire to provide help where, when and how it is best needed drives their support of The Julep Ball.
Always with an eye to the bottom line, Charlie says, “We want to help The Julep Ball maximize the profitability of the event, not just as an exciting Derby gala but with a view that it is an opportunity for everyone to support a fabulous facility that we all benefit from.”
Tickets to The Julep Ball are available now, and the event sells out early each year. The full evening’s entertainment is $600 per person, $5,000 for a table of 10, and $100 per person for dance-only tickets. For further information and to buy tickets, go to The Julep Ball website, julepball.org.
About the James Graham Brown Cancer Center:
The James Graham Brown Cancer Center is a key component of the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center. As part of the region's leading academic, research and teaching health center, the cancer center provides the latest medical advances to patients, often long before they become available in non-teaching settings. The JGBCC is a part of KentuckyOne Health and is affiliated with the Kentucky Cancer Program. It is the only cancer center in the region to use a unified approach to cancer care, with multidisciplinary teams of physicians working together to guide patients through diagnosis, treatment and recovery. For more information, visit our web site, www.browncancercenter.org.