The 2016 Spark Gala was a great success, raising over $2.5 million for novel cell therapy at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center. We are incredibly honored that the necklace we donated managed to raise $100,000. La Jolla Light featured an article which noted that this is the largest jewelry donation ever recorded in the San Diego area.The 35th annual Spark Gala for UC San Diego’s Moores Cancer Center took place April 16, 2016 at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, where one of the largest jewelry donations to date in the greater San Diego area was auctioned off. Vahid Moradi, president of CJ Charles Jewelers in La Jolla, donated a rare Golden South Sea Pearl Diamond necklace and earring suite with an estimated value of $88,000 with more than 500 diamonds.Auctioneer Grant Snyder opened the bid at $30,000. Momentum grew once the gala audience felt the positive synergy and excitement. Bid numbers rose, cheering grew louder and applause resonated throughout the room. Finally, a benevolent couple made the final bid at $100,000. Immediately, Moradi personally introduced himself and congratulated them. “Their generosity has far surpassed my expectations. I am proud to be part of such a cause,” he said.Moradi, who is on the board of UCSD’s Moores Cancer Center, said he considers the fight against cancer a mission very dear to his heart. When he was a young man, Moradi lost his father to cancer. This sparked him to never give up hope. “After seeing firsthand doctors and scientists (at UCSD’s Moores Cancer Center) devoted to their craft, my belief is reinforced that we are on the brink of something really great. Dr.Scott Lippman explained to me how the research is evolving to treatments such as immunotherapy,” Moradi said.Proceeds from this year’s auction will support the center’s new Novel Cell Therapy Program, which is a type of immunotherapy treatment. More than 450 people came together to support cancer research through the Spark Gala and the result was “astronomical.” The event raised $2.5 million, which exceeded last year’s fundraising amount of $2.1 million.
Vahid Moradi and CJ Charles Jewelers are pleased to support this year’s 35th Annual Moores Cancer Center Spark Gala with the donation of a stunning golden South Sea Pearl and diamond necklace and earring set. This exquisite piece will be available at auction during the Spark Gala on Saturday, April 16th at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar. All proceeds of the auction benefit cancer research and clinical care at UCSD’s Moores Cancer Center, which is a cause very dear to his heart.
Interview with Vahid Moradi, president of CJ Charles Jewelers:
What first got you involved with UCSD’s Moores Cancer Center?
“Finding a cure for cancer intrigues us all. I lost my father to cancer when I was a young man. This sparked an inner flame. I gravitated to any cause that was willing to go to war with cancer. After I was invited to join the UCSD Cancer Board, I had the pleasure to meet Dr. Scott Lipmann. On the first day I entered his office at UCSD’s Moores Cancer Center, I knew this was to be a lifelong mission of mine. I saw how passionate and devoted Dr. Lipmann is in his pursuit to find a cure. Throughout our conversation that day, Scott explained to me how the research is evolving to treatments such as immunotherapy and designing targeted cancer drugs based on the genetic information of the patient.”
How long have you been involved in supporting UCSD's Moores Cancer Center?
“This is my second year. My experiences as a board member over the last two years has been enriching. After seeing firsthand doctors and scientists devoted to their craft, my belief is reinforced that we are on the brink of something really great.”
Tell us about your donation.
“Every year for the gala it gives me the pleasure to offer my support by selecting an extraordinary one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry. This year I have selected a breathtaking necklace and earring set featuring golden pearls and diamonds. I can only hope that this donation will inspire an even greater act of generosity.”
The necklace and earring set feature 18 South Sea Golden Pearls 11-15mm, 500 Round Brilliant Cut White Diamonds 13.67cttw, 13 Rose Cut White Diamonds 2.60cttw, 336 Yellow Diamonds 6.72cttw set in 18kt white gold.