This website uses cookies. By continuing you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

28th Annual Sapphire Gala to Help More Than 1.7 million Pennsylvanians Suffering From Lung Disease

The special night will also honor local lung cancer patients

(February 8, 2019) - CAMP HILL, Penn.

The American Lung Association in Pennsylvania is set to host the 28th Annual Sapphire Gala on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg located on 1150 Camp Hill Bypass in Camp Hill, PA from 5:30 – 11:00 p.m. This elegant evening, which is sponsored by UPMC Pinnacle and Leitzel’ s Jewelers, will be a night to remember. Sapphire Gala guests will join the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania for a new theme this year – dipped in chocolate.

This night of luxury will include a cocktail hour featuring the opportunity to meet Gettysburg native, Miss Pennsylvania Kayla Repasky. Last fall, Miss Pennsylvania partnered with the Lung Association to help raise awareness of the importance of the flu vaccine. There will be a seated dinner and dessert, dancing, live entertainment, games and more! Live and silent auction items will be available for bidding, with all proceeds benefiting the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania in support of lung health research.

Group of people at the 27th Annual Sapphire Gala

“The Sapphire Gala is an opportunity that brings together lung cancer patients and survivors, their caregivers, healthcare professionals, and members of the community to raise awareness and attention to the No. 1 cancer killer in the United States – lung cancer, as well as other lung diseases such as COPD and asthma,” said Jeff Seyler, Eastern Division Chief Officer, American Lung Association.  “This year, we have the opportunity to honor not only Carmela Saxon and Melissa Bishop, but also all of our LUNG FORCE Heroes who are in this fight together.”

American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE initiative raises both awareness and funds for lifesaving research on behalf of those affected by lung cancer – the number one cancer killer of men and women.

The American Lung Association in Pennsylvania is honored to present the Ceylon Leitzel Leadership Award during the 28th Annual Sapphire Gala. The award is given to an individual who participates actively to advance the Lung Association’s mission of saving lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through research, education and advocacy. Additionally, the Ceylon Leitzel Leadership Award recipient continually exhibits integrity, strength of character and leadership within the South-Central Pennsylvania community.

This year the award recipient is Melissa Bishop who said, “My goal in life is and has always been to help others. Since my diagnosis, if there’s one thing I am confident that I want to do more now than ever, it’s to raise awareness and funds for the American Lung Association so that they can use the dollars to fund further research into lung disease, including lung cancer, as well as prevent countless unnecessary tragedies.”

The American Lung Association will also recognize two special guests Jessica Darrenkamp and Martha Martin, who are both LUNG FORCE Heroes.

For 28 years, the proceeds from the Gala have helped support the mission of the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania: to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through research, education and advocacy. The evening highlights the fact that more than 1.7 million Pennsylvanians are suffering from chronic lung disease, like asthma and COPD; and 10,470 people were diagnosed with lung cancer in Pennsylvania in 2018.

This special evening will also feature UPMC Pinnacle guest speaker, Dr. Troy Moritz, Thoracic Surgeon and Director of the Thoracic Surgery, “UPMC Pinnacle is pleased to support the 28th annual Sapphire Gala, representing our common goal to improve the health and quality of life for those in central Pennsylvania. As event chair and volunteer board member, I am personally dedicated to South Central Pennsylvania American Lung Association’s mission to research new treatments, help more people stop tobacco use and advocate for lung cancer screening and treatment.”

By supporting events like the gala, guests help the Lung Association realize its goal of a world free of lung disease by helping to fund research for new treatments for chronic lung diseases, advance smoking cessation through the Freedom From Smoking program, and advocate for clean air initiatives so that all Pennsylvanians can breathe easier.

The Lung Association is pleased to have abc27 News Reporter Christine McLarty back as this year’s Master of Ceremonies.

The Sapphire Gala will include a live auction where guests can bid on items including trips to Alaska, France, Key West and more. Don’t forget to stop by the photo booth and have your picture taken by the official Sapphire Gala Photographer, Roger That Photography.

The Lung Association would like to recognize UPMC Pinnacle as Sapphire sponsor, Genentech as the Platinum sponsor and Leitzel’s Jewelry in Hershey and Myerstown, and Faulkner as the Gold Sponsor. A special thank you to this year’s other sponsors including: Enterprise, Higher Information Group, Roger That Photography, Radisson Camp Hill, and AmFund.

Media interested in covering the Sapphire Gala or speaking with an expert about lung health, contact the American Lung Association, Eastern Division, Communications Director Ewa Dworakowski at [email protected] or 717-971-1123, 717-503-3903 (cell). For information on how to register, visit or contact Janise Bankard, 717-971-1118 or [email protected].


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

Red button with telephone
Ask An Expert

Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Get help
Red button of two hand prints
We need your generous support

Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

Button of turquoise LUNG FORCE swirl

LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

Get involved
Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
Donate Now.