Last night, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) recognized 20 individuals and groups that have made extraordinary contributions to cancer survivorship. NCCS’s “Ray of Hope” awards were given to Rep. Lois Capps, Katie Couric, Sam Donaldson, Dr. John Durant, Dr. Harold Freeman, Scott Hamilton, former Sen. Connie Mack III, Pearl Moore, Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan, Queen Noor of Jordan, Dr. Antonia Novello, Rep. Deborah Pryce, Cokie Roberts, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, Dr. Julia Rowland, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, USA (Ret), Lilly Tartikoff and Jessica Turri. Groups recognized were the Institute of Medicine and the Cancer Survival Toolbox® Team.

Katie Couric also received the 2006 Lilly Tartikoff Hope Award for her tireless efforts to end the threat of colon cancer through public education.

The “Rays of Hope” were honored last night at NCCS’s 20th anniversary benefit gala at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, which was filled with 4,000 roses to symbolize the number of people diagnosed with cancer each day. Dan Abrams, host of MSNBC’s “The Abrams Report” and NBC News chief legal correspondent, served as the master of ceremonies.

“I was honored to emcee NCCS’s annual awards gala again this year. For the last twenty years NCCS has been lighting the way to quality cancer care for millions of survivors,” said Abrams. “And the crowd of advocates, policy makers, and supporters who attended this year’s special anniversary celebration demonstrates how much of an impact NCCS has had on people with cancer and their families.”

President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush were honorary co-chairs for the event. More than 500 guests attended to show their support for NCCS and cancer survivorship.

“It was our distinct pleasure to honor these dedicated individuals and groups, and we are humbled by the time, thought, and energy they have contributed to cancer survivorship and our organization,” said Ellen Stovall, 34-year cancer survivor and NCCS President and CEO.