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November 22, 2017

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Chef Kerry Simon undergoes stem-cell transplants at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota


Erik Kabik/Retna/

Kerry Simon and Barry Dakake at Chefs to the Max, a fundraising dinner for food critic Max Jacobson, at Rx Boiler Room on Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014, in Mandalay Place.

2013 Silver State Awards at Venetian

Sirio Maccioni, second from right, received the Pioneer Award at the 2013 Silver State Awards on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, at the Venetian Showroom. Launch slideshow »

2010 Miss USA Pageant: Simon Restaurant

The 2010 Miss USA Pageant contestants at Simon in Palms Place on May 9, 2010. Launch slideshow »

Celebrity “Iron Chef” champion Kerry Simon underwent the first of two days of initial stem-cell transplants at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota on Wednesday. After today’s second set of spinal injections, Kerry will return to Las Vegas on Friday.

Before he returns to Rochester in early March for more intensive sessions of stem-cell transplants, he will preside over his Feb. 27 celebrity chef and rocker showcase at the Keep Memory Alive event center in the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health downtown.

Word from Kerry, a 2013 Silver State Award recipient, on Wednesday night was that he was “in good spirits, although very tired, resting comfortably and optimistic” with the medical procedure. There is no known cure or treatment for Multiple Systems Atrophy (a stronger, more-aggressive form of Parkinson’s) he’s fighting that we reported in December.

On Friday, he meets here with 20 volunteers who formed a committee to organize the Feb. 27 events. His good pal comedy actor Bill Murray will serve as MC, and Christian Kohlberg will join him as auctioneer.

Before he underwent surgery, Kerry told me this week: “I cannot believe the support we are getting for our Fight MSA campaign. It is unbelievable. I am deeply touched by all these wonderful people helping out at the drop of a hat with nothing more in mind than to conquer this terrible disease.

“I’m not going to let it stop me doing what I must do.”

Celebrity chefs serving taste treats include Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Daniel Boulud and Charlie Palmer all flying in from New York, along with Michael Mina from San Francisco and Megan Romano, Rick Moonen, Kim Canteenwalla, Grant McPherson, Justin Nelson, Mark Tabell and Wylie Dufresne.

Rockers taking part in the entertainment include Lisa Loeb, Sammy Hagar, Alice Cooper, Todd Rundgren, Vince Neil, Slash, Matt Sorum, J.D. Fortune from INXS and John Dolmayan from System of a Down.

Following the benefit concert, Kerry will host an after-party at his Simon in Palms Place with N9NE’s Barry Dakake and Alize’s Mark Purdy with Tammy Alana and Richard Tapia. Singer-guitarist Chris Clouse, a longtime friend of Kerry’s, will provide music.

The $1,000 tickets get guests entry to a VIP pre-party reception meet-and-greet with the celebrity rockers and star chefs, the concert and the star-studded after-party at Simon, which many performers from Strip shows have promised to support. The $500 tickets are for general admission to the cocktail party concert.

It’ll be a one-night-only show of music history, with house band Sin City Sinners performing their hits and backing up the rock stars. Justin will produce a staggering signature Simon 2.0 junk food creation.

Kerry’s mission with his Fight MSA campaign is to expand on the Brain Center’s current programs of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and ALS with a new research program. Doctors will fly in from as far afield as Europe for the first symposium with Kerry this Saturday.

“We will create a legacy for everybody affected by this awful disease,” said Kerry. Please go to for further information and ticket purchase.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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