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Hepatitis B Foundation Bets on a Cure at the 2017 Crystal Ball

A record $138,000 was raised to advance research and programs for people with hepatitis B 

DOYLESTOWN, PA (April 2017)- The Hepatitis B Foundation (HBF) honored scientific and community leaders at its Crystal Ball on April 7, 2017, raising a record $138,000 to help fund the organization's valuable research, outreach, public health, and patient advocacy programs. The fundraiser, held at PineCrest Country Club in Lansdale, PA, attracted over 230 leaders from academia, industry, government and the community.

The gala evening was emceed by Patrick Walsh of The Walsh Group and guests enjoyed table casino games by Tumbling Dice, dinner and dancing, a silent auction and an awards ceremony honoring scientist Mario Rizzetto, MD; community leaders Marvin and Dee Ann Woodall; and HBF co-founder and executive director Joan Block.

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Prof. Mario Rizzetto, MD (second from left) was awarded the Baruch S. Blumberg Prize for his discovery of the hepatitis delta virus.

The foundation’s most prestigious award, the Baruch S. Blumberg Prize, was presented to Dr. Mario Rizzetto, honorary professor of Gastroenterology, University of Torino, Italy. He was recognized for his pioneering research that included the discovery of the hepatitis delta virus, which was a major scientific breakthrough. Hepatitis delta only infects those already infected with hepatitis B, and this co-infection is a deadly health problem worldwide.

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Marvin and Dee Ann Woodall receive the Community Commitment Award from Joel Rosen (left) and Tim Block (right)

Marvin and Dee Ann Woodall were honored with the 2017 Community Commitment Award for improving the community through their significant financial support and board service for over 30 years.  Among their numerous charitable endeavors, they have supported the HBF’s Summer College Research Internship program for many years, and Mr. Woodall serves on the Leadership Council of the PA Biotechnology Center, which was created to be the home of the HBF in 2006 and is managed by its Baruch S. Blumberg Institute.

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Paul and Jan Witte (left) present the Distinguished Founders Award to Joan Block, joined by Tim Block.

The ceremony concluded with a tribute to Joan Block, RN, BSN, HBF executive director, who co-founded the organization in 1991 with her husband, Dr. Tim Block, and Paul and Janine Witte. Ms. Block was recognized with the Distinguished Founders’ Award for her extraordinary leadership over the past 26 years. During her tenure, the HBF has grown into a professional organization with a global reach, touching millions of lives each year. In June 2017, Ms. Block will step down and pass the torch to a new leader who will inherit a strong organization with a deep commitment to pursuing excellent science rooted in human compassion.

The Hepatitis B Foundation's 2017 Crystal Ball Gala was made possible with the generous support of Presenting Sponsor Univest Bank; Platinum Sponsors Arbutus Biopharma, ContraVir, Gilead Sciences, Janssen of J&J, and The Norwood Company; Diamond Sponsors Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, High Swartz LLP, and Penn Community Bank; Emerald Sponsors Allure West Studios, de Art Folio, and Inovio Pharmaceuticals;  and Media Sponsor Bucks County Herald.

About the Hepatitis B Foundation: The Hepatitis B Foundation is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization solely dedicated to finding a cure for hepatitis B and improving the quality of life for those affected worldwide through research, education and patient advocacy. To learn more, go to www.hepb.org, read our blog at hepb.org/blog, follow us on Twitter @HepBFoundation, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/hepbfoundation or call 215-489-4900.