Rush Companies has again teamed up with South Sound Cancer Awareness Research Expansion Foundation to host the fourth annual Beer & Bites event at the Narrows Marina, raising $500,000 to advance cancer research in the South Sound.

More than 500 people gathered to raise the record-breaking amount, a vast improvement from when the initial gathering of 50 people five years ago raised $40,000.

“The South Sound has really embraced Beer & Bites,” said Gordon Rush, founder of Rush Companies. “We have contractors, physicians, business leaders, friends and neighbors all coming together to generate hope for cancer patients. It is extremely rewarding to see the generosity toward CARE grow year after year.”

This year, Tony Panagiotu of Panagioti Pension Advisors and his wife Julie provided a $25,000 lead gift for the Fund-A-Need through the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, inspiring $245,000 in total giving for the paddle raise segment.

Rush praised CARE Foundation founder Dr. Frank Senecal for his work in cancer research.

“Frank does amazing work with cancer patients. Effecting people in our community is important to me,” said Rush, “Providing South Sound residents with the ability to receive leading edge trials and stay in their home, close to their support system, is huge for people already dealing with a challenging situation.”