Edison, NJ – “As District 5 goes, so goes the nation”, said Georgette Boulegeris, (past chairman of the Cancer Research Foundation), this past Saturday evening at the Fifth District Fall Gala.

She may be right. District 5 has been at the forefront of many AHEPA initiatives and is especially recognized for creating the Cancer Research Foundation, Inc.

The Foundation was formed in October 1988, by the Fifth District Order of AHEPA to raise funds from its members and the general public for research grants. Shortly after, the Fifth District Daughters of Penelope came on board uniting the AHEPA Family behind a common cause of philanthropic support of cancer research. In the past 24 years, a total of $825.000 has been raised and awarded under the foundation efforts making this arguable the biggest district sponsored AHEPA program in the nation.

The Gala evening recognized many individuals in District 5 for their lifelong philanthropic efforts through the AHEPA. AHEPA national headquarters Executive director Basil Mossaides described District 5 as “the best national district” and sighted them as an example for other districts to follow. This reaffirmed Boulegeris’ comments about leading the nation.

AHEPA Supreme President Anthony Kouzounis and Daughters of Penelope Grand President Joanne Saltas both on hand, sang praises for District 5 as well. “I would like to give a shout out and hooray for those that have been triumphant over cancer”, said Saltas, who’s own sister met with cancer and then Leukemia.

The evening continued with grants awarded to various institutions and then moved to the Axios Award, which was given to Yibin Kang, PhD (Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology, Princeton University) for his cancer research work in the area of secreting particles. He graciously thanked the AHEPA and spoke about the research and funding that the AHEPA gives. He pointed out, that their support effectively funds a very specific type of cancer and sustains 1000 researchers worldwide.

Chiming bells placed by each seat were later raised and rung in honor of those lost to cancer. A moment of silence followed, before the evening concluded for dancing. Chairman of the event, George Horiates addressed the crowed one last time and remarked, “we’re all stronger than the storm-we truly are”. A reference to last year, where the Cancer Foundation Gala event was cancelled, due to the devastation incurred by hurricane Sandy. On this evening, District 5 had made a triumphant return.