Press Release

DKMS touches hearts and raises over $3.5 million in unforgettable virtual gala

Evening featured appearances from LP, Jaime King, and more



NEW YORK (September 18, 2020) – Last night, DKMS, a world leader in the fight against blood cancer and other blood disorders, brought their annual gala into living rooms nationwide with a special virtual format – and raised over $3.5 million to help grant more blood cancer patient a second chance at life.

The evening honored Niren Chaudhary, CEO of Panera Bread, and his wife, Aditi Chaudhary. The pair shared the incredible story of their daughter Aisha Chaudhary, who passed away in 2015, but not before inspiring millions as a young author and motivational speaker.

Guests were treated to a musical performance by multiplatinum singer-songwriter LP, who was introduced by actress Jaime King. In the most emotional moment of the night, 9-year-old Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) survivor Grady Smith met his stem cell donor, Jessica Carroll, for the very first time. Jessica donated to Grady in 2018, and the two have been hoping to meet ever since. Their first meeting was followed by a huge surprise moment. Despite the fact that this year’s gala did not physically take place in New York, the city still celebrated DKMS’s incredible work by lighting the Empire State Building red from 8 PM to 9 PM ET, while supporters across the five boroughs watched the event from home.

In his opening remarks, DKMS founder Peter Harf recalled that “when we had to cancel our physical galas in New York and London, many people thought that we should take a break, but we cannot, because blood cancer doesn’t take a break…DKMS was born in adversity, and we know how to deal with adversity. We grow when the crisis gets deeper.”

“I’m very thrilled to be here for a cause that is very close to my heart,” said LP. “There are ten million DKMS registered donors worldwide, and we’d love to help them get to ten million more.”

Olivier & Valérie Goudet were the evening’s Event Chairs. DKMS founder Peter Harf served as Honorary Chair alongside Robert Gamgort and Charlotte & Alejandro Santo Domingo.

Katharina Harf is the Global Vice Chairwoman of the DKMS Foundation Board. Coty and JAB are proud corporate sponsors of the event.


ABOUT DKMS Founded nearly 30 years ago in Germany, DKMS is an international charity dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and other blood disorders. We at DKMS are committed to providing hope and second chances at life to blood cancer patients by raising awareness, registering more donors, improving therapies through research, and providing access to transplantation. Today, DKMS is the global leader in providing blood stem cell transplants to patients. With 10 million potential donors registered, we have successfully facilitated nearly 90,000 transplants for patients in more than 57 countries. However, with thousands of patients still waiting for their lifesaving matches, our work is not done. 100% of the proceeds from the annual US Gala fund the DKMS mission to grant every blood cancer patient with a second chance at life.

PRESS CONTACT Shawn Purdy / Lindsey Brown - SLATE PR (212) 235-6813 /