AUGUSTA — Free ME from Lung Cancer held its annual gala Oct. 14, an Oktoberfest with a live auction and dinner, at Le Club Calumet, according to a news release from Deb Violette, president and CEO of Free ME from Lung Cancer.

The highlight of the event was a testimony of living after the loss of her sister Dana Reeves, Christopher Reeves’ wife, by Dr. Deborah Morosini.

The event raised more than $26,000, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap was auctioneer and Mac Dickenson, Townsquare Media, emceed.

“This year has been a really exciting year for us at Free ME from Lung Cancer,” said Roger Pomerleau, marketing director of Free ME from Lung Cancer, during the gala according to the release. “But with all the excitement we also have experienced some losses.”

“A few weeks ago one of the former board members, Normand Dubreuil lost his battle to lung cancer. Many of you may know Normand from the Maine State Credit Union where he worked for many years. Normand was the key person that spearheaded the credit union’s Walk to End Hunger.

“Normand always came to our board meetings wearing a big smile. His zest and love for life was infectious, a driving force in helping to move our foundation forward. Normand always looked for ways to help those less fortunate even in his passing. Normand asked that in lieu of flowers please make a memorial donation to Free ME from Lung Cancer. We all were humbled with such a generous request. Deb Violette President wrote to his wife Shirley because we wanted to acknowledge Normand for his generosity. Shirley was in agreement with our suggestion and I am happy to say that the funds from the memorial donation will be called the Normand Dubreuil Radon Abatement Grant. I think this is in line with his legacy of helping those less fortunate,” said Pomerleau, at the gala according to the release.

During the event, Violette announced the nonprofit as two grants to be awarded. One is the Normand Dubreuil Air Radon Grant. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, according to the release.

The second grant will be its first $100,000 grant, funded by the nonprofit teamed up with the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer that will match its funding bringing the total grant to $200,000. This is the first Joint Fellowship ever FMFLC-IASLC Joint Fellowship Award for the Early Detection of Lung Cancer, according to the release. The joint fellowship award supports novel, innovative and translational research with the potential of having a high clinical impact on the early detection of lung cancer.

“This first joint award between FMFLC and the IASLC funds research that will positively impact lung cancer patients,” said Violette, according to the release. “We are thrilled to be working with the IASLC to help change the lives of lung cancer patients.”

The objective of this new award is fund research that will deliver a meaningful and measurable result for the early detection of lung cancer and that has a high probability of near-term benefit to lung cancer patients or individuals at risk.

The Joint Fellowship Award for the Early Detection of Lung Cancer is a two-year award, $100,000 per year, totaling $200,000.

Applications will be accepted until Dec. 31. The award winner will be notified on March 15. For more information, visit IASLC.org.

To learn more about Free ME from Lung Cancer, call Violette at 215-9035 or visit freemefromlungcancer.org.