LOS ANGELES, April 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Michael Sitrick, Chairman and CEO of Sitrick and Company, will be honored with the Special Service Award, "The Duke," at the 28 th annual Odyssey Ball, the yearly fundraising event that benefits the John Wayne Cancer Institute (JWCI) at Saint John's Health Center. This year's gala will be held April 13 at the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel and will feature a special performance by singer and voice actress Rachael MacFarlane. The Odyssey Ball is organized by the John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary currently helmed by President Anita Swift, granddaughter of John Wayne. Gala co-chairs are Susan Veerman and Cynde Wilen. " Mike Sitrick embodies all that " The Duke" Award symbolizes," said Patrick Wayne, Chairman of the Board at JWCI. "In addition to his family's philanthropy and the work he has done for Saint John's Health Center, he has served as a senior advisor and member of the Board of Directors of Abraxis BioScience, developer and distributor of Abraxane, a revolutionary cancer drug. We are thrilled to honor him for his commitment to the fight against cancer." Sitrick, an internationally recognized expert in the strategic use of communications, is the founder, Chairman and CEO of Sitrick and Company and has provided advice and counsel to more than 1,000 companies, including some of the nation's largest corporations, and some of the nation's highest profile individuals. Sitrick serves on the Board of Trustees of the Saint John's Health Center Foundation, Nant Pharma and the nonprofit Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Advanced Health. Proceeds from this year's Odyssey Ball will support JWCI's Oncology Fellowship Program which is a vital part of The Institute's mission to train future leaders in cancer research and treatment and is the only center in California (and one of only eight nationally), accredited to provide advanced degree training in complex cancer surgeries. The Family of John Wayne, through the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, has pledged $500,000 to the Fellowship Program. Since 1981, the John Wayne name has been committed by the Wayne family to groundbreaking cancer research and education in memory of their father, who died of cancer. The courageous researchers at the JWCI have changed the way the world approaches cancer research and treatment yielding new breakthroughs that have helped doctors detect cancer sooner, stage it more precisely and treat it more effectively. Today, the Institute is enhancing its world renowned programs focusing on melanoma, breast, and gastrointestinal cancers as well as extending its expertise in cancer research, clinical practice and education to include brain tumors and prostate cancer. With its unique ability to rapidly turn scientific breakthroughs into innovative approaches to treatment and early detection, the Institute provides immediate hope to cancer patients around the globe. Visit www.jwci.org.