Last week, Breast Cancer Research Foundation held its first-ever Virtual Hot Pink Evening, taking their renowned Hot Pink Party to a new virtual format with a very special live-stream viewing experience.
The unforgettable evening raised over $5.2 million to support BCRF’s global legion of leading scientists pursuing high-impact breast cancer research that is saving lives, even in the midst of the current global crisis. Breast cancer does not stop for COVID-19, and neither will BCRF, thanks to the generous support of donors who are helping ensure that the organization’s vital work will continue without losing ground.
Guests were treated to a stirring opening number featuring Norbert Leo Butz singing “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story. A blockbuster Broadway tribute to breast cancer survivor and current Hamilton star Mandy Gonzalez featured Lin-Manuel Miranda, Laura Benanti, Krysta Rodriguez, Tituss Burgess, Tommy Kail, Alex Lacamoire, Judy Kuhn, James Monroe Iglehart, Sierra Boggess, and many more friends and cast members from In The Heights. Gonzalez herself offered a stunning performance of “Breathe” from In The Heights. Nile Rodgers and CHIC’s performance of “We Are Family” had viewers tapping their toes as he closed out the evening. The program also featured appearances by Sir Elton John, Elizabeth Hurley, Karlie Kloss, Edie Falco, Rachael Ray, Gretta Monahan, Amy Robach, Joan Lunden, Deborah Norville, Anne Thompson, and many more. Steven Tabakin served as Director and Executive Producer of the program.
Rachael Ray celebrated her friend Gretta Monahan, who was diagnosed with breast cancer one year ago with a heartfelt message: “When I was a young woman, ‘breast cancer’ were the two scariest words a woman could hear because there was so little hope and now there’s so much hope. I know that because of my friend Gretta [Monahan]. She shared her entire experience so that every woman could know, step by step, what she was going through as it was happening. What’s extraordinary about Gretta is that to have her second child, she had to go through a treatment regimen that she knew would raise her risk greatly for getting breast cancer. And I don’t know the better definition of a mom than someone who fights for their life to give life to someone else. I applaud her in every way there is.”
Professional ballet dancer Maggie Kudirka, who is currently undergoing treatment for stage IV metastatic breast cancer shared, “I’m that one woman in a hundred thousand to be diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer before the age of twenty-five. Since the COVID crisis occurred, cancer patients got a new, new normal,” said Kudirka as she described her experience. “Our support system and loved ones are no longer allowed to come with us to treatments and doctor’s appointments. We have to keep our distance from everyone because of our immune system. We have to wear extra protective gear, but we still need our treatments and we are still figuring it out. We as a community are in uncharted waters and we’ll get through this together.”
“I’m always honored to support the incredible work of BCRF,” said Sir Elton John in a special message to attendees. “Until the day that we can all celebrate the end of breast cancer, I want you to know, I stand with all of you. For all those treating patients, caring for a loved one who is sick, grieving for someone who has left us too soon, or valiantly fighting the disease, you are not alone. Stay strong. We are in this together.”
Judy and Leonard A. Lauder and Anthony von Mandl served as Honorary Co-Chairs for the evening. Kinga Lampert and Aerin Lauder were Lead Co-Chairs. Event Co-Chairs included Sandra Brant, Patsy and Patrick Callahan, Cindy and Rob Citrone, Mary-Ann and Fabrizio Freda, Roslyn Goldstein, Marjorie Reed Gordon, Dee and Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Shelly and Howard Kivell, Terri and Jerry Kohl, Michael Kors, Jane Lauder, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, Laura and Gary Lauder, Lori Kanter Tritsch and William P. Lauder, Adrienne and Dan Lufkin, Patricia Quick, Bryan Rafanelli, Lois Robbins and Andrew Zaro, John Rosenwald, Jeanne Sorensen Siegel and Herbert J. Siegel, Arlene Taub, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, Ingrid Vandebosch and Jeff Gordon, Vera Wang, Candace King Weir, and Nina and Gary Wexler.
The event’s Underwriters included ascena retail group inc., Kinga and Edward Lampert, and von Mandl Family Foundation; Benefactors included Firmenich, Roslyn & Leslie Goldstein, Hearst, and Leonard & Judy Lauder Fund; Visionaries included Jody & John Arnhold, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., Kendra Scott, Terri and Jerry Kohl, William P. Lauder & Lori Kanter Tritsch, Lufkin Family Foundation, Rafanelli Events, Jeanne Sorensen Siegel & Herbert J. Siegel, Marilyn & Jim Simons, and Candace King Weir.