Local restaurants will support research at O’Neal Cancer Center during Fiesta Ball Week

The 14th annual Fiesta Ball, now happening for an entire week July 17-24, will have an online auction and participation from five local Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants.
Written by: Curran Umphrey
Media contact: Adam Pope

Fiesta Ball pic 00000002 2Six local restaurants will offer special menus to ticketholders throughout Fiesta Ball Week, a new take on the annual fundraising event hosted by the Young Supporters Board of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

The event is being reintroduced after Fiesta Ball was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fiesta Ball Week will take place July 17-24 and will also feature an online auction. Participating restaurants include Sol Y LunaEl ZunZúnLittle DonkeyLa PazCraft’s on Church Street and all eight Birmingham-area Taco Mama locations.

Pre-purchased tickets are required to participate in the restaurant portion of Fiesta Ball Week. Ticket sales will end Friday, July 16, at 11:59 p.m. Proceeds from each ticket sale will benefit both the selected restaurant and the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Tickets are not required to participate in the Fiesta Ball Week online auction, which will feature a range of items such as a weekend vacation at Lake Martin and a round of golf for two at Pursell Farms. The auction will open at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, July 17, and will close at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 24. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the O’Neal Cancer Center. For more information, visit uab.edu/fiestaball.

“The YSB is thrilled to partner with businesses and foundations in our community to put on a new and unique event that will support our hard-hit local restaurants while also raising money for research grants at the O’Neal Cancer Center,” said Rebecca Beers, president of the Young Supporters Board. “These grants will pay dividends in the future as our young investigators build on the discoveries and ideas that we fund and, ultimately, change the trajectory of cancer treatment.” 

Although the event has been completely reinvented this year, proceeds will still fund the Mary Ann Harvard Young Investigator Grants, as they always have. These grants help early-career scientists at the O’Neal Cancer Center jump-start their research programs.

“The Mary Ann Harvard Young Investigator Grant was a huge help in getting my research underway as I opened my lab in 2019,” said Benjamin Larimer, Ph.D., assistant professor of radiology at UAB and associate scientist at the O’Neal Cancer Center. “The data gathered from this award led to my being selected for one of the 50 NIH Director’s New Innovator Awards, which are given out to promising researchers across all of medicine. Together, these two awards will allow me to transfer what I have learned in my research.”