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Joining me at the Rivals United for a Cure reception was co-founder Barry Hoeven

Joining me at the Rivals United for a Cure reception was co-founder Barry Hoeven

If you live in Southern California, you know that there is an intense football rivalry between USC and UCLA. It goes all the way back to 1929, when the two universities first started playing each other. What you might not know is that there is a cause that has united the supporters of these two football powerhouses, and it is cancer. Rivals United for a Kure was organized a few years ago to bring the UCLA and USC sports communities together to raise funds for innovative cancer research for underfunded cancers, and to date, the revenue from Rivals’ first two galas has enabled the nonprofit to present nearly $600,000 in research dollars directly into the hands of doctors at UCLA Jonsson and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Centers.

To that end, more than 40 alumni, supporters and friends of USC and UCLA gathered at Jerry and Sherri Worth Nourse’s Big Canyon home in Newport Beach to hear about Rivals United for a Kure and its mission. Joining the man behind Rivals, Barry Hoeven, who has been battling kidney cancer for 14 years, were the other two co-founders, Paul McDonald (USC and NFL football star and current radio color analyst for USC football) and Jack Baric, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, who created “A City Divided,” which features the more memorable moments in rivalry history and includes behind-the-scenes anecdotes from players, coaches and fans.

The featured guests were research doctors, who each spoke about their specialty. Lung cancer specialist David Shackelford, Ph.D., who is Assistant Professor at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, was one of the recipients of a Rivals’ grant last year. Dr. Uttam K. Sinha is the Medical Director of Head & Neck Surgery at USC’s Keck Medical Center and Dr. Sumanta Kumar Pal, whose specialty is kidney cancer, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology & Experimental Therapeutics at the City of Hope Comprehensive Medical Center.

Rivals committee member Julie Ann Ulcickas and her husband Jim, owners of Bluewater Grill, provided a tasty assortment of appetizers for the soiree, while Monette and Steve Zotovich of Zotovich Wineries offered their delicious chardonnay and pinot noir for sipping. Rivals’ Director Alison Hahn announced Rivals United for a Kure’s Third Annual Gala, scheduled for Sunday, November 16, (USC and UCLA Game Week) at the new City Club Los Angeles. Serena Overhoff and Melanie Belger are joining Sherri Worth Nourse in co-chairing the gridiron bash. Worth Nourse, a renowned Newport Beach celebrity dentist, said of her commitment, “I decided with my busy work and family schedule to make the time to chair the Rivals’ gala this year because so many of our friends and family members’ lives have been affected by cancer.”

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