Breast Cancer Alliance Celebrates Survivors in Style

The Breast Cancer Alliance hosted its 19th annual benefit luncheon and fashion show “Branching Out, Coming Together, Aspiring to a Cure” November 6 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich.  

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Published November 23, 2014 5:06 PM
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breastcancer-thThe Breast Cancer Alliance hosted its 19th annual benefit luncheon and fashion show “Branching Out, Coming Together, Aspiring to a Cure” November 6 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich.

 

By Maureen Mancini Amaturo

breastcancer-groupThe Breast Cancer Alliance hosted its 19th annual benefit luncheon and fashion show “Branching Out, Coming Together, Aspiring to a Cure” November 6 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich.

In a tented grand ballroom divided by a crisp, white runway, an estimated 1,000 attendees from the area and beyond gathered to show support for sister survivors, the doctors and nurses leading the cure crusade, and the volunteers who devote tireless time and energy to saving lives. The Breast Cancer Alliance (BCA) is dedicated to raising awareness and funds to sponsor fellowship training for breast cancer surgeons and to provide mammograms, treatments, follow-up visits, and transportation for patients who otherwise would not be able to get the medical attention they need.

The BCA was born in Greenwich, in 1996, thanks to the vision and efforts of just five women; today, it is 12,000-strong. Comprised of active members that reach far beyond Greenwich, the Alliance counts among its own a high percentage of Westchester, especially Rye, supporters. Five of the board members are Rye residents: Trish Shannon, Nancy Smith, Irene Waddill, Lisa Walsh, and Jaime Warner.

Waddill, who has been on the board since 2007, said, “This is a banner year. I think this is our biggest audience to date.” Her long involvement with BCA began about nine years ago. “My mom had breast cancer and didn’t survive. I started working on the committees and continued to get more involved.”

Walsh joined the board two years ago but has been involved for a long time. “This is an amazing organization which is very intelligently run,” she said. “We have a Medical Advisory Board, follow-up, and researchers to see what has been done and to see where the money goes.”

breastcancer 2301The event was a seamless blend of education, motivation, and celebration with a lot of entertainment mixed in. Keynote speaker Mike Greenberg, host of “Mike & Mike,” on ESPN and ESPN2, the highest-rated sports talk show in the U.S., gave a speech that was both hilarious and heartbreaking. He shared the very personal story of losing a dear friend to breast cancer and how her death affected him. Greenberg and his wife, Stacy, are donating 100 percent of the proceeds from his debut novel, “All You Could Ask For,” to the V Foundation for Cancer Research in honor of their lost friend.

Two fashion shows followed the keynote. The first, a “survivor celebration.” Every one of the models was wearing a smashing outfit from Mitchells; every one was also a breast cancer survivor. Their beauty, strength, and courage stirred the audience.

The second show featured the Spring 2015 Brunello Cucinelli collection. Wow. All the texture, bling, fur, and wispy ostrich feathers brought dimension to the low-key elegance of dove gray and ivory. It was a very luxe and witty mix of extremes: shine (lamé, silk, satin, taffeta, and sparkling stone details) and matte (mink, feathers, wool, jersey, suede, leather, and tulle). The collection is ultra-feminine with an undercurrent of confidence and strength. It was both timely and timeless, giving it wearability beyond spring.

The crowd cheered as much for the BCA passion as it did for the Cucinelli fashions. The dedication of the staff and its supporters is inspiring and the crowd stood by them generously for the silent auction and the raffle emceed by Scott Mitchell of the Mitchells stores.

DiDi McCormick, one of many familiar Rye faces among the guests at the luncheon and a longtime BCA supporter, said, “A lot of our friends have gone through breast cancer. I support this organization because it is more personal. With this one, I feel like we are supported by our friends with a great sense of community.”

A quote from designer Brunello Cucinelli sums up the day beautifully. “Money has no real value, only when it is spent to improve the lives of people.”

To learn more about The Breast Cancer Alliance, become involved, or make a donation, visit breastcanceralliance.org. BCA will hold its holiday gift boutique December 2-3 at Greenwich Country Club.

— Photos by Maureen Amaturo and Elaine and ChiChi Ubiña

 

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