William “Bill” Raveis, of Fairfield, the Chairman and CEO of William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance (WRRE), was honored by Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation for his transformational support and commitment to raising funds and awareness for the organization. The Annual Breakfast, held at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City on June 5, raised more than $1.1 million to support brave and bold scientists pursuing innovative strategies to prevent, diagnose and treat all forms of cancer.

Alan M. Leventhal, Chair of Damon Runyon’s Board of Directors, commended Raveis’ steadfast support of cancer research. “Bill has built a great business with passion, commitment to excellence and brilliance. Sound familiar? That’s Damon Runyon. That’s what our scientists do. Bill brings the same passion to cancer research.”

When Raveis’ wife, Candy, was diagnosed with incurable acute myeloid leukemia, her doctor gave her a prognosis of four months to live. Now, four years later, after two bone marrow transplants and multiple treatments, Candy is recovering. Thanks to the Damon Runyon research scientists Raveis is funding, there are new treatments and miracle drugs available, such as the ones Candy is now taking that are saving her life.

Raveis said of the two journeys — cancer and business — cancer is infinitely more difficult. While being successful in business requires believing in yourself and solving problems, cancer has a million variables, he said. Throughout his wife’s cancer journey, he saw that “you must have tenacity,” he said. “You must believe in yourself and believe you’re going to beat the odds and live.”

“In starting your own business as well as in cancer research, there are a lot of unknowns,” said Raveis. “The journey has a lot of pitfalls and at times is not fun but having the desire to achieve your vision pushes you through all the ups and downs. It is about more than money - it’s about who you are and what you want to do with your life.”

Born from a family conversation about what they could do to give back more, WRRE’s Charitable Fund launched the Raveis Ride + Walk in 2015. Held annually in Norwalk, this community bike ride and family walk has raised more than $2 million and funded 16 scientists with the William Raveis Charitable Fund Fellowships.

Damon Runyon Board Member John Myers introduced Raveis, his longtime friend, and announced a new award in his honor. He recognized Jessie Brown, PhD, of Columbia University Medical Center, as this year’s Candy and William Raveis Fellow; her research focuses on understanding drug resistance and relapse in acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“Our scientists are at the heart of everything we do,” said Yung S. Lie, PhD, President and CEO of Damon Runyon. “We fund high-risk, high-reward research, and our focus is on brilliant, young scientists. They are the future leaders of their fields.”