Ex-NFL star bets on cancer research

Within the next 12 months, over 100,000 people across the country will be diagnosed with a primary or metastatic brain tumor, an alarming statistic that former NFL star Garo Yepremian has been working to reverse. On Feb. 17, he is sponsoring Casino Night, a fund-raiser that encourages participants to roll the dice to support brain cancer research.

Yepremian’s efforts began more than 10 years ago when his youngest son, Azad, learned that his 19-year-old girlfriend, Debby-Lu, had been diagnosed with an intrinsic brainstem glioma: an inoperable brain tumor. With Azad by her side — the two married despite the grim diagnosis — Debby-Lu received care from Jefferson Hospital’s neuroscience program, turning a six-month prognosis into six years. She died at the age of 26, and her father-in-law created the Garo Yepremian Foundation to continue the fight against the disease in tribute.

Casino Night, one of the foundation’s annual fund-raisers, will be held from 6:30 to 11:30 p.m. at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern. Tickets, which must be purchased in advance, are $100 per person and include a buffet, margarita bar, casino chips, prizes and celebrity guest appearances. For more information, visit http://www.yepremian.org/casino.html or call 610-249-2121.