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More than 400 guests dressed to the nines in cocktail attire adorned with splashes of pink—the color of the ribbon worn to increase breast cancer awareness—for BWH’s premier Pink Party at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel last month. The event, designed by famed party planner Bryan Rafanelli, raised more than $500,000 for the BWH Quality of Life Fund, which supports breast cancer patients in the physical and emotional challenges they face.
“Simply put, living through breast cancer is just the first step. Regaining one’s life comes next. And that’s where the work of the Quality of Life Fund comes in,” said Pink Party host Carolyn Kaelin, MD, MPH, FACS, founding director of the BWH Comprehensive Breast Health Center. Kaelin, a breast cancer survivor, kicked off the gala fundraiser with Channel 5 news anchor and event emcee Natalie Jacobson and Magic 106.7 radio personality Candy O’Terry.
The elegant evening was filled with touching moments. In a ballroom sparkling with pink décor, guests gathered to view a powerful video montage of 12 courageous breast cancer survivors. Generosity ruled as bidding cards flashed during the live auction. Peggy Henry and Maggie Seelig, winners of a spa package for 12 at Emerge gifted it to the breast cancer survivors featured in the video. Tom and Kristen Roberts, the winning bidders on a pearl and pink sapphire Mikimoto necklace donated by Long’s Jeweler’s, quietly returned it to Kaelin as a gift for one of her patients.
Another highlight was a special award presented to Judie Schlager, a grateful patient and a breast cancer survivor. The Judith P. and S. Lawrence Schlager Atrium at BWH is named for the Schlager family, generous benefactors of the hospital. To top off the evening, guests received fitting party favors of pink baseballs and brown Red Sox caps with pink lettering to recognize Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino’s wife Stacey, who chaired the event along with Lisa Clark and Suzy Marden. All who attended also went home with an increased awareness of the day-to-day struggles faced by breast cancer patients and the efforts of the Quality of Life Fund to support these patients through research, outreach to underserved women and the educational Knowledge, Strength & Grace Conference, among other initiatives.
BWH Development campaign coordinator Sharon McNally, a breast cancer survivor, appreciates the importance of these efforts, which help breast cancer patients feel they are not alone. “There is no better ambassador of hope than people who understand what you are going through, and the Quality of Life Fund connects patients with such people,” McNally said.
Carolyn Kaelin and her son Tripp met Fenway mascot Wally at the Pink Party