Monday, May 21, 2018

The possible

Bethesda Fountain as seen through the Terrace wall. 3:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Monday, May 21, 2018. The rains subsided and yesterday early afternoon, the Sun came out along with the temperature rising into the low 80s.

Last Thurday night I went over to the Park Avenue Armory where the Breast Cancer Research Foundation hosted its annual Hot Pink Party. I’ve been covering BCRF events pretty much since its inception which was about twenty-five years ago.

It was founded by the late Evelyn Lauder in 1993, and at the time I knew several women who had been diagnosed with the disease. Some were very close friends and some did not survive. Hence my personal interest in this new charity which was created to increase research.
Evelyn Lauder, photographed by Harry Benson in 2010.
Evelyn got started with the project about the same time I began writing the New York Social Diary at Quest magazine. I didn’t know her personally, but I had heard from several that she was more than a head of the organization. There was one point where I knew five women who were battling the disease including two close friends. All of them are with us today, more than fifteen years later.

DPC and Evelyn at the American Cancer Society's Youth Against Cancer: Mothers of the Year Award 2009 luncheon.
I was very impressed by Evelyn’s quiet self-confidence. She avoided the heavy implications of this disease when she spoke of it. Everything was about “the possible.” It frankly inspired me to write about the power of “possibilities” in our lives that can be realized by one idea of one person. New York is the hometown of such enterprises -- enterprises that demonstrate and prove that we can make the world a better place for all of us. If we really want to. 

Evelyn really wanted to. She took pride in the fact that almost all the funds raised went directly to handpicked research teams all over the world. In the years since that founding the Breast Cancer Research Foundation has raised more than $500,000,000!

The goal according to Myra Biblowit, who is President and CEO of BCRF, was “to accelerate the breakthroughs us closer to a cure to speed up the progress that will improve survivorship and quality of life for breast cancer patients today.” 

In this past year they’ve awarded $59.5 million in annual grants to more than 275 scientists from top universities and medical institutions around the world.

Eleven years ago, in 2007, Sian Ballen interviewed Mrs. Lauder about her project, and to learn more about what motivated the lady in her life. 

The annual BCRF is a big production. This year there were more than 1,100 guests and they raised $5.5 million. It was hosted, as it has been for many years by Elizabeth Hurley.  Elton John has donated his services every year giving the guests one of his fabulous concerts. He could not attend this year because he is in the process of organization a worldwide “farewell” concert. He also was attending the wedding of the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex. In Sir Elton’s place this year we were treated to the great Mary J. Blige!
Entering the The Park Avenue Armory Drill Hall completely transformed for the occasion.
Dancers greeting the guests going to their tables ...
I was at the table of Marjorie Reed Gordon and Ellery Gordon.
The evening’s Honorary Co-chairs were Leonard and Judy Lauder. The evening honored Denise LeFrak Collichio, who was presented with the Roslyn and Leslie Goldstein Unsung Hero Award by Roberta Model Amon. This annual award which is still introduced by its namesake, Roz Goldstein, is for a friend who helps a friend in need. The recollection of both women (Ms. Amon has been a breast cancer survivor for several years) was very moving. Another example of what we’re capable of in friendship. If we want to be.

The Park Avenue Armory was, as you can see in the photos, spectacular to the eye. The theme was “New Depths” --  a nod to BCRF’s researchers, who take a “deep dive” into the mysteries of cancer, with far-reaching outcomes. Noteworthy guests included LL Cool J, Misty Copeland, Dee and Tommy Hilfiger, Amy Robach, Jeff Gordon and Ingrid Vandebosch, Dennis Basso, Paul Shaffer, Andy Karl and Orfeh, Lea DeLaria and Emma Myles. 
Elizabeth Hurley with Leonard Lauder and Judy Glickman.
Elizabeth Hurley and Mary J. Blige.
Honorary Co-chairs included Sir Elton John and David Furnish and Judy and Leonard Lauder. Event Co-chairs included Sandra Brant, Patsy and Patrick Callahan, Cindy and Rob Citrone, Roslyn Goldstein, Marjorie Reed Gordon, Dee and Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Shelly and Howard Kivell, Michael Kors, Kinga Lampert, Aerin Lauder, Jane Lauder, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, Lori Kanter Tritsch and William P. Lauder, Dominique Lévy, Adrienne and Dan Lufkin, Pat and John Rosenwald, Jeanne Sorensen Siegel and Herbert J. Siegel, Arlene Taub, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, Ingrid Vandebosch and Jeff Gordon, Vera Wang, Lois Robbins and Andrew Zaro.

The event’s underwriters included: Kinga and Edward Lampert, and Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co. and the Von Mandl Family Foundation; “Maritime Benefactors” included Condé Nast, Firmenich, Roslyn and Leslie Goldstein, Hearst, and the Leonard and Judy Lauder Fund; “Hot Pink Ocean” contributors included Housewares Charity Foundation, Kendra Scott, Candace King Weir, Jody and John Arnhold, Lori Kanter Tritsch and William P. Lauder, Lufkin Family Foundation, Play for P.I.N.K., Rafanelli Events, Jeanne and Herbert Siegel, and Winston Flowers. Visit to learn more.
In Sir Elton’s place this year we were treated to the great Mary J. Blige.
Hear all about it! Coming up this Wednesday at 10 am, at Doyle, the auction gallery, is some of the costume jewelry of the estate of Wendy Vanderbilt Lehman. Wendy was an artist and had great natural style. Several of her pieces were from Kenneth Jay Lane – necklaces, brooches, earclips. Kenny of course had great style also – a meeting of the minds. Not being a buyer of jewelry, costume or otherwise, I don’t know about value. I just remember when they had the auction of Jacqueline Onassis costume jewelry, her KJL “pearl necklace” went for thousands of dollars!  Have a look yourself.

Contact DPC here.