BCRF Luncheon Focuses on Global Reach
Nearly 1,100 guests convened on October 28th for BCRF's Annual Awards Luncheon at The Waldorf=Astoria in New York City. Over $2 million was raised, about $100,000 more than at last year's Luncheon, and the Foundation awarded nearly $28.5 million in grants to 173 deserving scientists.
The Awards Luncheon opened with a poignant performance by Katie Finneran, Tony Award-winning film, stage, and television actress, who starred in the Off-Broadway play, Love, Loss, and What I Wore. The play, by Nora and Delia Ephron, is an intimate collection of stories; Finneran performed a scene, written by BCRF-supporter Geralyn Lucas, about her decision as a cancer survivor to get a tattoo on her newly reconstructed breast.
Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, followed, enlightening the audience with her journalistic perspective on breast cancer—how as a newscaster, it is important to be able to report on the reliable and meaningful information that we can act on—from prevention and lifestyle choices to progress in treatments. Brzezinski also cited time as a challenge: "research isn't fast and furious, like news. It's thoughtful and deliberative...That's the pivotal role BCRF plays—giving researchers the resources to conduct the quest for answers and to get them to breast cancer patients in time to matter."
The 2009 Jill Rose Award, presented each year in memory of its namesake to honor distinguished scientific achievement, went to Dr. Martine Piccart-Gebhart. Piccart-Gebhart, whose numerous international research honors and collaborations include founding the Breast International Group (BIG) in 1996, spoke with deep emotion about her career-shaping breast cancer medicine and research being like a "dream every morning that is realized by the evening." Piccart-Gebhart created BIG to facilitate breast cancer clinical trials and to reduce the unnecessary duplication of efforts. The organization currently coordinates 44 clinical research groups based in Europe, South America, Australia and Asia.
Leonard Lauder presented Elizabeth Hurley with the 2009 BCRF Humanitarian Award in recognition of her tireless advocacy for breast cancer awareness around the globe. Hurley, who has been traveling the world with Evelyn Lauder since 1994 promoting awareness and underscoring the need for more scientific research, not surprisingly replied in acceptance of the award, "You are my favorite man in the United States of America." But Mr. Lauder continued, adding that beginning next October, in Hurley's honor, BCRF will select a prominent breast cancer scientist in the United Kingdom to be announced annually as The Elizabeth Hurley Researcher Award. Surprised and choked up with emotion, Hurley promised to persevere in her missionary activities until the dreaded disease "is kicked off the planet."
The Symposium and Awards Luncheon was made possible by underwriters Roz and Les Goldstein, QVC, Tough Enough to Wear Pink, and Evelyn and Leonard Lauder. The Foundation also thanks cochairmen Anne Eisenhower Flöttl, Betsy Green, Joanne de Guardiola, Ronnie Heyman, Gail Hilson, Evelyn Lauder, Cynthia Lufkin, Gigi Mortimer, Pauline Pitt, Elizabeth Rohatyn, and Christine Hearst Schwarzman for making this event better than ever.