Dedication & Gratitude

We dedicate this page to our friends and family members who were most instrumental in saving the life of our founder, Ernest “Erno” Hallas from Stage 4 Cancer. Erno was given a terminal diagnosis for a rare, complicated and inoperable blood cancer in October 2009. Erno was cured by Dr. David M.J. Hoffman (Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles) in December 2010 and has remained cancer free ever since! Erno currently enjoys a vibrant life, maintains excellent health and in no small way, pays it forward everyday....


Dr. Herman "LUCKY" Kaye, J.D., M.D., Ph.D. (of blessed memory)
May 1, 1928 to September 27, 2010

  • Entrepreneur
  • Philanthropist
  • Hero and dearly missed friend
  • World War II Veteran (33 missions aboard the B-17 bomber named Choo-Z-Suzy, 423rd Squadron, 306th Bombardment Group)


Dolores & Dr. Herman H. Kaye Mediation Garden at the City of Hope

One day in 2010, our founder, Ernest “Erno” Hallas was invited to have lunch at the Southern California residence of his friend, Herman “Lucky” Kaye. During lunch, Erno informed Lucky that his doctors had given him the terrible news that his cancer was not only inoperable, but also terminal. He was not long for the world. Lucky’s response to this chilling news has served as unending fuel and inspiration for Erno to this very day.

Lucky calmly picked up the phone and called Dr. Michael Friedman, the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Hope. Less than three hours later, Erno’s cell phone rang and he was speaking directly with Dr. Stephen Foreman, an internationally acclaimed and respected expert on Lymphoma from the City of Hope. At the behest of Dr. Herman H. Kaye, Dr. Foreman made the resources of his City of Hope staff available to Erno’s cancer doctors.

Gratitude

Erno would like to take this opportunity to also thank the following people, without whom he would not have survived his battle with life threatening stage 4 cancer.


Dr. Eleni Doufekias Vavas, M.D. (of blessed memory)

June 3, 1977 to July 1, 2014

Erno's baby cousin Eleni is another reason Erno is still alive today. Eleni gave Erno hope with her daily telephone calls while he was in the intensive care unit at various hospitals. She also gave him great confidence as she was constantly monitoring his treatments. Eleni was a board certified Cardiologist also certified in Echocardiography and Nuclear Cardiology as well as Internal Medicine. She graduated with top honors from Cornell University. While a sophomore at Cornell, Eleni gained early acceptance to SUNY Upstate Medical University College of Medicine and completed her residency at New York Hospital Weill Cornell Medical Center. Eleni valiantly fought stomach cancer (primary stomach adenocarcinoma) for years and passed away on July 1, 2014. Eleni was a kind, sensitive, strong, loving, brilliant, and amazingly vibrant woman. We will miss her dearly and remember her always.

Eleni lead a team of riders at an event run by Cycle for Survival, a nonprofit affiliated with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center that raised more than $69,000 at an indoor cycling fundraising event in Roslyn in March 2014.


Tina C. Hallas
Writer & Erno’s Health Care Advocate

Tina is another reason Erno is still alive today. On April 15, 2010, Tina arranged for a private jet to airlift Erno to Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, while his doctors at the Summerlin Nevada Hospital mocked her, predicting Erno had less than 24 hours to live. Tina stood vigil at Erno’s bedside for 500 days, including more than 180 days and nights at the David Saperstein Critical Care Center in Los Angeles.


Henry C. J. Hatfield
Industrialist, Philanthropist & Erno’s best friend

Henry is another reason Erno is still alive today. In 2010, Henry flew from New York to the West Coast and volunteered to donate a kidney, a lung and part of his liver to his childhood friend. Henry also personally signed a financial guarantee to underwrite up to $10 million dollars of Erno’s medical expenses.

Erno (or Ernie as he was often called during his school days) met Henry on September 2, 1974 in a church during orientation for their parochial elementary school in Upstate New York. They became best friends, later became college roommates and have remained life-long friends for over 40 years.

Henry Hatfield has been the Chief Operating Officer of Hatfield Metal Fab since 1981, a business his father established over 60 years ago in the Hudson River Valley of New York. Henry, his wife Keek and two sons, Kiaya and Henry III, enjoy a wide range of sports, including golf, tennis, swimming, wrestling, skeet shooting, motor-boating, snowmobiling and are also avid world travelers.


David M.J. Hoffman, M.D.

David is a monumentally huge reason reason Erno is still alive today.

Despite overwhelming odds and against the prognosis of several other oncologists, David Hoffman vigilantly battled Erno’s Lymphoma tumors (including 8 rounds of R-CHOP chemotherapy) for 375 days, scan after scan, after scan, from “too numerous to count “until his CAT scan showed “clear”.

Erno’s ancestors can be traced back to the Spartans (from Laconia, Greece). There is an ancient Greek saying that states “You are only as strong as the man standing next to you”. If you ask Erno, he will tell you, he would stand directly next to David Hoffman during any battle.

Erno adopted David as his brother in 2011.

Dr. David Hoffman grew up in Detroit, Michigan and attended the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated from the Chicago Medical School in 1994. Continuing his education, he completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA and subsequently a fellowship in Hematology-Oncology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research focused on immune therapy for cancer.

Dr. Hoffman is a partner at Tower Hematology Oncology Medical Group and is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Medical Oncology and Hematology.

In addition to his clinical appointments, Dr. Hoffman maintains a number of professional affiliations. He is an active member of:

  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • American Society of Hematology
  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • American Medical Association
  • California Medical Association
  • Los Angeles County Medical Association
  • Southern California Lymphoma Group

Currently, Dr. Hoffman maintains an academic appointment as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine and has published a number of book chapters and peer-reviewed papers. He is recognized as a national expert in the administration of high-dose Interleukin-2 for metastatic kidney cancer and melanoma.


We would also like to recognize and thank the following individuals:

Arash Bereliani, MD, Beverly Hills, CA

Robert W. Chen, MD, City of Hope, Duarte, CA

John Christopher, RN, Tower Oncology, Beverly Hills, CA

Cathy Diamond, Patient Coordinator, Tower Oncology, Beverly Hills, CA

Joya Favreau, MD, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles CA

Jeremy S. Fine, MD, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles CA

Stephen L. Graham, MD, Tower Nephrology Medical Group, Los Angeles CA

Saibal Kar, MD, Director, Cardiovascular Intervention Center Research, Cedars Sinai

Sheila Kar, MD, Beverly Hills, CA

Jason B. Kirk, MD, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles CA

Michael M. Levine, MD, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles CA

Jose Ramirez, MA, Supervisor, Tower Oncology, Beverly Hills, CA

Donald Talbot Rink, MD, Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara, CA

Barry E. Rosenbloom, MD, Tower Oncology, Beverly Hills, CA

Fred P. Rosenfelt, MD, Tower Oncology, Beverly Hills, CA

Paige Woodward, RN, Tower Oncology, Beverly Hills, CA

Stephen J. Forman, MD, FACP

  • Associate Director for Clinical Sciences, City of Hope
  • Professor, Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research
  • Co-leader, Hematologic Malignancies Program, City of Hope
  • Professor, Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation
  • Clinical Director, Cancer Immunotherapeutics & Tumor Immunology
  • Francis and Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation