The San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation (SFFCPF) hosted the inaugural The Art of Fire gala at Terra Gallery on Saturday, March 4, 2017. Proceeds from the gala supported SFFCPF’s science-based studies and ongoing efforts to provide medically approved cancer screenings for the early detection of cancer in both active and retired firefighters.

The gala honored filmmakers James Redford and Kirby Walker for their personal and professional involvement in bringing awareness to toxic chemical exposures in their HBO Documentary “Toxic Hot Seat.” The SFFCPF also honored the University of California, San Francisco’s Dr. Marshall Stoller for his research and ongoing commitment to bringing an end to elevated rates of cancer in this community. Guests were treated to a keynote address from actor, author and cancer survivor, Evan Handler (Showtimes’s “Californication”; HBO’s “Sex and the City”). The gala also featured special guest, award-winning actor and San Francisco’s own BD Wong (NBC’s “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit”; USA Network’s “Mr. Robot”).

“For the last decade, the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation has been a leader nationwide in the early detection and prevention of cancer in both active and retired firefighters,” said retired San Francisco Fire Department Captain Tony Stefani, “I am very excited for this inaugural gala and look forward to making The Art of Fire a yearly tradition to bring awareness to our ongoing fight against cancer.”

The gala began at 6 p.m. with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind prints of San Francisco firefighters confronting the “beast” that is fire, curated by photographer and retired San Francisco Fire Department Lieutenant Dwayne Newton. A lavish dinner, provided by San Francisco’s premier caterer Taste Catering and Event Planning, was served at 7 p.m. There was also a live auction featuring artist John Kraft’s original print, Through the Fire – Remembrance, as well as other unique items. The evening closed with a dessert reception and a special performance by The Fabulous CruiseTones.

The San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation was launched in 2006 by retired San Francisco Captain Tony Stefani, and over the last ten years has organized biannual kidney and bladder cancer screenings for both active and retired San Francisco Fire Department personnel and assisted neighboring departments to set up similar screenings. The Foundation has supported two groundbreaking studies related to cancer in the fire service – a fifty-year retrospective study of the San Francisco, Chicago and Philadelphia Fire Departments and a bio-monitoring study of female firefighters.

The Art of Fire event sponsors included The Armenta Family, Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, Diane B. Wilsey, Grass Roots, Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger and the Yvonne and Angelo Sangiacomo Family Foundation. Media event sponsors included ABC7, JCDecaux, KCBS All News 740 AM and 106.9 FM, San Francisco Business Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco magazine and SFGATE.com.

Photos by Drew Altizer

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