Ain’t no party like a Hot Pink Party!
On Wednesday, May 15, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation hosted their annual Hot Pink Party in New York City at the Park Avenue Armory.
This year marked the 25th anniversary of the BCRF’s establishment in 1993, raising $6 million for breast cancer research on behalf of the organization.
Take a look inside the star-studded pink gala:
The event was hosted by Global Ambassador of The Estée Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Campaign, Elizabeth Hurley, who’s worked with the BCRF for over a decade:
“[The BCRF] is a phenomenal organization — they’ve been part of every major breakthrough in breast cancer since they started 25 years ago and we support more than 300 research scientists globally, all of who are fighting to find a cure for breast cancer. And we think they will — we just need more funds to fund more research.
Treatments have been improving ever since research has been going into it … 25 years ago everyone was pretty much given the same drugs for treating breast cancer, now they know so much more about breast cancers and how different cancers, different tumors react to different drugs. Women now have treatment programs tailored to their particular cancer … they’re not giving drugs that actually won’t make a difference to your cancer like they would’ve done 25 years ago. That sort of progress is unbelievable for women, tailor-made treatment for your cancer.
I think people already are incredibly generous but really the more money thats raised, the more research that will be done and the faster women will stop dying. Every 15 seconds a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States and they’re not all surviving. We need more research for faster results.”
The event was attended by over 1,000 guests, which gave Bryan Rafanelli of Rafanelli Designs a challenge when it came to accommodating and designing the massive Armory for the event:
“The Park Avenue Armory is quite large, it’s enormous. I want this to feel like a small dinner party even though there are over 1,000 guests. When people come together and celebrate and feel gratitude for what’s being done by BCRF, that’s what’s so critically important. So everything was about bringing things down to a smaller scale in … one of the largest venues I’ve ever worked in.
We lowered the ceiling by putting thousands and thousands of white lights into the ceiling … it’s a very simple thing that somebody could do in their backyard but we did it in this giant football field-sized armory and it’s interesting because it suddenly became small — it was really all about the lights and I’m really glad we were able to do that.
Every year, this idea of bringing together all of these people — all of us are donating our time so we the challenge is to be respectful of everybody’s craft but at the same time saying can we make something fantastic all together … if we look at the work that’s been done so far, tomorrow looks pretty bright (perhaps bright pink) because of the work of BCRF.”
Co-Chair of the event, Lois Robbins, was thrilled with how the event came together, especially as the cause is something so personally connected to her life:
“Essentially I think this evening really sells itself. People want to be here because it’s for a great cause and we want to make it the best evening possible.
I was diagnosed [with breast cancer] 13 years ago — I never talked about it. I was very lucky, it was a zero-grade cancer … no chemo, no radiation — I was one of the very lucky ones. But there was still a sense of shame for me for whatever reason … I just didn’t want to be defined by it. But now I can’t stop talking about and I feel somewhat ashamed that I didn’t speak about it, especially because i have two daughters and I’m the youngest of four girls and it’s all about women. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process and I just feel like anytime I can help anyone I want to.
We’re not defined by [cancer]— we are all very full people, most of us are very evolved in many ways and you never should define yourself by one thing. I went to a wonderful meditation and yoga retreat many years ago with Deepak Chopra and he said ‘Make a list of all the ways that you define yourself’ and this was one of the things that got me talking. I’m a mother, iI’m a daughter, I’m a sister, I’m a friend, I’m a wife, I’m an actor, I’m a singer, I’m an entertainer — you make this list of all of the things that you are. And one of the things on that list was ‘breast cancer survivor’ and [Chopra’s] point is, during your life that list is always going to be changing. And if you only define yourself by one thing, you’ll be really sad when that one thing falls off the list.”
Model Carolyn Murphy echoed Robbins’ sentiments about the importance of advocacy and raising one’s voice to keep the conversation about the disease active:
“I don’t think that [having cancer] defines a person other than by making them stronger. and I think as humans we’re all here to help one another — be who you are … knowing that you still need to be yourself but you need to also use your voice if you can. It can be small town, it can be as big as the world but it’s really about not being afraid to talk about it. I think that can also make it worse.
My mom is a survivor, she’s cancer-free for about 10 years now andI just love supporting BCRF because they’re taking care of so many women and men, I want to support them. Raising money, research, awareness, preventative against breast cancer. It’s a horrible disease.”
The guest list included donors, celebrities and other notable advocates including Vera Wang, Nina Garcia, Candace Bushnell, Dee & Tommy Hilfiger, Paul Shaffer and Honorary Co-Chairs Leonard & Judy Lauder and Anthony & Debra von Mandl.
Attendees were treated to a musical performance by David Foster who was joined by Pia Toscano, Loren Allred, and Fernando Varela, including surprise performances with Katharine McPhee and Maxwell.
Since the BCRF’s establishment, breast cancer mortality rates in the United States have declined by a whopping 40 percent — a 25-year-long line of progression that’s continuing to rise, something worth celebrating every day of the year.