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Scene Last Night: Pimco’s Jon Short, Thiel, Rushdie, Amis

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American Cancer Society Financial Services Cares
John Thiel, head of wealth management at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, right, with Corinne O'Kelly, widow of Eugene O'Kelly, former chairman and CEO of KPMG, whose battle with cancer led to the creation of the annual Financial Cares Services gala for the American Cancer Society. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

June 25 (Bloomberg) -- Deutsche Bank donated a Tiffany decanter. State Street Global Advisors Inc. threw in four tickets to see the Patriots play the Jets. And Bank of America Merrill Lynch arranged for eight tickets to see Justin Bieber.

Providing the live auction loot was one way that financial-services firms came together last night to raise more than $1.5 million at the eighth annual Financial Services Cares Gala for the American Cancer Society.

“When given a chance, people will help,” said John Thiel, head of U.S. wealth management at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and the chairman of the gala committee. “You have to ask.”

Using what Thiel called “classic networking,” the gala committee got more than 600 guests mingling at Cipriani 42nd Street, including the U.S. rates team at Societe Generale and a crew of mutual-fund experts at Lord Abbett & Co.

Pacific Investment Management Co. was honored and received top billing as a “hope” sponsor along with Fundamental Advisors LP. Guggenheim Investments Inc., Deloitte LLP, York Capital Management LP, and Tradeweb Markets LLC were also on the sponsors list.

“We do the logistics, the committee handles everything else,” said Donald Distasio, executive vice president of the Eastern Division of the American Cancer Society.

Robert Kapito, president of BlackRock Inc., talked with honoree Dr. Andrew L. Kung, director of pediatric hematology, oncology and stem cell transplantation at New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. Kapito is president of the Hope & Heroes Children’s Cancer Fund, which supports Kung’s department.

Science Prize

Kung, 46, began cancer research in high school, winning a Westinghouse science-fair grand prize for a project showing filtered cigarettes were just as carcinogenic as non-filtered.

He now focuses on pediatric cancers, which receive less than 5 percent of cancer-research funding.

“We really do need funding for research,” Kung said. “We talk about cancer as a singular entity and it’s really 250 diseases.”

As guests sat for dinner, Jon Short, head of global wealth management at Pimco, greeted Christopher DeMarco, a managing director at UBS Securities LLC.

“Bringing everybody together for a noble cause reminds you, to a degree, what’s important,” Short said.

A copy of “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost was slipped into programs at a gala for Prize4Life, which offers cash prizes to advance treatments and find a cure for ALS.

Sothebys Honor

The event last night at Sothebys honored George Mazareas, a Prize4Life board member and ALS patient determined “to live, not die” from the disease.

At the 21 Club last night, Rich Lowry celebrated his new book, “Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream -- and How We Can Do It Again.”

In attendance were former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and two brothers who work in wealth management at Morgan Stanley, Darden and Andrew Livesay.

Salman Rushdie received a medal from the National Art Club’s literary committee after toasts from Martin Amis and Kiran Desai.

“My lot has been to bounce around the planet,” Rushdie said. “It’s no accident I should wind up in New York. It’s the city where the world joins up.”

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

Muse highlights include Warwick Thompson on U.K. theater, Richard Vines on food, Craig Seligman on books and Scott Reyburn on the art market.

To contact the writer on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net or on Twitter at @amandagordon.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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