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On the midnight train to Georgia

| Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010

We'll be the first to admit that our vocal talent does little more than inspire the neighborhood dogs to howl, so imagine how jealous we were during Tuesday's Hillman Cancer Center gala at the Monroeville Convention Center , when we found one songbird who was more than willing to give Grammy-award winning Gladys Knight (who just happened to be our guest performer) a run for her money.

"Oh, I am going to take the stage from Gladys," laughed Clyde Jones.

Celebrate! A Future Without Cancer toasted the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute's 25th anniversary, where honorary chair Sy Holzer chatted with Mario Lemieux, La La Land transplant David Conrad prepped for his emceeing duties, and co-chairs Steve and Susan McGalla and David and Vanessa Morehouse weighed in on whether or not they would be requesting a duet with Ms. Knight.

"I'm going to pass, this time," mused David.

Thirty minutes into our cocktail hour and a sudden mob scene alerted us to Henry and Elsie Hillman 's arrival, recently engaged Dr. Stanley Marks and fiancee Nikol Snee floated in and made the rounds, Athena Sarris did her best to get us to tempt us into skipping dinner with individual boxes of Sarris chocolates that awaited us at our seats, and Deb Wheeler nearly incited a riot when she informed us weary travelers (rain, rush hour and the Parkway East ... i.e., instant migraine) of her breezy commute.

"I came from Somerset, so it was easy for me!" she exclaimed.

Over the past five years, $100 million has been raised towards cancer research at UPCI and UPMC cancer centers.

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