The Key to a Cure Gala is an event in which the community comes together to celebrate and honor those individuals who work tirelessly to support the Scleroderma Foundation of Southern California and those who care for patients as medical professionals and as caregivers.  This year we are so proud to honor:

Eicos Sciences Inc.


Eicos Sciences, Inc Wade Benton, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman will accept the President’s Award  for their visionary research focused on therapies to improve the quality of life for patients, completing phase 2 of a clinical trial for ILOPROST, a prostacyclin derivative that opens blood vessels for Raynaud's.


Nunzio Bottini, MD


Professor of Medicine Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology

University of California San Diego

Nunzio Bottini, MD, University of California San Diego, Professor of Medicine Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, will receive the Spirit of Leadership Award for his laboratory research studying biochemical signaling in tissue resident cells in scleroderma, developing ways to inhibit the disease promoting action without depressing the ability of the immune system to fight against infectious and tumors.

Kelly Clemeshaw -approved photo 7-12-19.
Susan Okuno - approved photo_edited.jpg

Kelly Clemeshaw & Susan Okuno


San Diego Support Group Leaders

Susan Okuno 

“I am not a “leader”, so much as a “facilitator”. Susan


As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who was working at UCSD Medical Center, Susan’s life was sidelined when diagnosed with diffuse scleroderma. She immediately began looking for support group meetings of which there were none in San Diego, so she joined with others to establish the first. The first meeting was amazing; each story was unique and amidst the tears, the support was incredible.  Susan will never forget listening to everyone’s stories; finally she had a place where she could ventilate her fears and frustrations and ask questions and realize that there were others who were going through the same thing. She could cry, scream, laugh, or just listen. In a support group each meeting lets everyone experience that magic of not feeling alone and Susan knows that a support group will help a person cope with this disease, learn more from others, and it will also guide a newly diagnosed person to the best medical care in the area. 


Kelly Clemshaw

Kelly stepped up to be a Scleroderma support group leader in Encinitas along with Susan after the previous leader moved to Portland and suggested she would be great.  Kelly was honored to be thought of for this role and feels blessed to serve in this capacity.  Kelly feels she gets so much out of the time she spends with these friends and learns a lot about living with this disease. She is especially inspired to see when members who were overwhelmed and fearful, just a few years ago with their new diagnosis, offer comfort, guidance, and encouragement to newly diagnosed patients.   As a patient who often struggled to face Scleroderma meetings decades ago during the early years, this role has brought her profound joy to spend time with a wonderful group of warriors!

Kelly Clemeshaw & Susan Okuno, dedicated San Diego Support Group Leaders, who will receive the Janie S. Benner Memorial Spirit Award for their dedication and accomplishments to making a difference in the San Diego scleroderma community