It is November 12, 2017. The Cancer Beat was October 21, 2017.
I am almost recovered.
Before I get into the details of what goes into making The Cancer Beat such a magical night…let’s get to the money talk. With approximately a quarter of a million dollars that comes in from this event alone, combined with the generous donations you all make throughout the year, and the proceeds from our incredible Scoops Challenges, Swim Challenges, and Bake it Happen Campaign (and now for next year – the MOMBIES viral video!) we, along with our MBC Collective partners Hope Scarves and Twisted Pink, were able to put 1.2 million dollars into these two cutting edge labs at Dana-Farber and Memorial Sloan Kettering this year for metastatic breast cancer research!
Yup that’s right – 1.2 million dollars! We did that. All of us. Thank you so much for helping us achieve this! This magical, fun, amazing, and successful event takes a full year to plan – and almost as long to bounce back from :). We have already started planning for next year – worth every minute. My brilliant, artistic friend Casey Caine once again transformed the The Warehouse at FTC …
into this …
That sparks the magic…the incredibly cool decor that Casey creates to re-invent the space each year. Next, we have our amazing volunteers (Stef, Robin, Shelley, Jackie, Caryn and Kim) who spent months planning and cajoling other amazing event volunteers (Karen, Mary Ellen, Nancy, Sarah, Gabby, Cecily, Claudia, Lori, Sue, Paige, and I know there were others I am missing!), getting ad space and sponsors, helping with guest lists and a million other details. Viv and Pam thank you both for working so tirelessly on the program. A big thanks to Tracy Locke (Mike and Danielle!) who graciously donated their printing services, allowing us to bring in $21000 in program ads! And a shout out and thank you to Nicole B and Steph G who tackled the three page Rider for the band – teacups and all! Here are some more pre-event shots of the team getting everything ready…
Thank you to WEBE 108, Mofly Media and WTNH Channel 8 for being our media sponsors this year and to all of our generous sponsors, including our year round marketing sponsor Vegalash!
Talk about planning. Carol Lentini, of Along Came Carol – who, despite having just lost her husband and partner in everything – the lovely Marc, rallied and served her delicious food for this event. She blew us away with both presentation and taste. And, knowing that she has been a chef to the stars (Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen to name a few) her special dinner party for 12 at home – went for $22,000 as we had not one – but two – of these auctioned off! Thank you Carol! Scott, Robin, Anne, Tom, Suzanne and Dave. Don’t forget you all said you’re inviting me for dinner!
By the way, do you know that my beautiful, kind, talented friend Lisa Garcia of Photography by Lisa Garcia, and her generous team – volunteer all their time and talents to take these photos for us? We love you Lisa and team! (Lisa, I’m only 5’4″ and I look like Andre the Giant in heels next to you!)
Speaking of volunteers…
And then there is the incomparable Howard Jones, featured here doing meet and greets back stage with one of our local sponsors, Josh from Vinyl Cafe, and me and my awesome college friends. He is the loveliest, most understated rock star. I was teasing him before the show asking for a “fun fact” about himself that his fans might get a kick out of. He is so humble that it took about three hours before he finally came up with the “fun fact” that he likes 10 pin bowling. To which I replied, “Um…ok rock star, I’m not sure how fun that is, but it is definitely a fact. Can we do any better than that? C’mon you’re a rock legend.” To which he said, “Well, there was this one time when Mick Jagger was in my dressing room and…” I cut him off right there and said “Ok, simmer down big shot – now you’re just bragging.” He is so endearing and kind, and his music and voice are as relevant and strong as ever.
The real magic of the night however, was getting to honor our beloved Beth Calabotta and Holley Kitchen with post-humous advocacy awards that were accepted by their families. Thank you all for being with us Dave, Mary, Teri and Missy. Thank you to my “other daughter” Grace Pelle (aka the next Taylor Swift!) for singing “The Fight Song” to kick off the night to Holley Kitchen’s video, and to all the breast cancer survivors and thrivers who joined me on stage.
Thank you to our incredible friends and family from Cheshire, CT – who came in style in their rockin’ party bus…hosted by my sis and bro-in-law Viv & Marc Ciampi! Thank you Cheshire, I love you guys!
I made out particularly well in the Live Auction this year as not only am I getting to attend both of Carol’s fabulous 12 person dinner parties, but my generous friend Kyla Ricci was the winner of the chance drawing for a 5 star weekend in Paris sponsored by Cruise and World Travel …and she is taking me! It was like a reverse Oprah moment when her name was announced by last year’s winners Gregg and Melissa and I was so excited to be able to give this trip to my sweet friend and her husband, but then she flipped it around on me and announced I would be her plus one! It must have been all that “dirty weekend” talk that made me an obvious choice :)! And then, 4 other girlfriends of ours decided to join us. So, look out Paris…there will be six of us headed your way for an epic ladies weekend in February!
We also have a special shout out to our “Whole Beat Table” donors: Tom Quinlan, Rob & Cindy Citrone, and Peter & Susan Armstrong – Thank you for your generosity!
My husband Tom was a great sport about sharing his birthday with all of us and matching the generous $25,000 paddle raise you all brought in for his bday gifts! For some strange reason there is nothing more he wants than to have me around for more of these so thank you all for your generous bids, and to Tom for trying to keep me around to nag him on more birthdays :)…
And last, but most certainly not least…
Thank you to the men, the myths, the legends…our heroes, Dr. Sarat Chandarlapaty and Dr. Nikhil Wagle and all of our friends from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Erin) and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (Janie, April, Heidi) who came to the event and who support us all the time in all we do! We let them out for a few hours to party with us and talk about the amazing work they have done with our funds from last year. Then we told them to get right back to the lab and go cure cancer!
As many of you know, this past September I received the very difficult news that my cancer has metastasized. I was among the 30% of those with early stage breast cancer who metastasized to Stage 4. The foundation that I started, to help others, will hopefully help to save my own life as well. I have not published this information until now because we just told our kids this news last night. More than ever, I so appreciate the self-starter campaigns like Bake It Happen, The Mombies, and the Scoops and Swim challenges that people are running for The Cancer Couch! Let’s keep the momentum going, share this website with your friends, sign us up for an employee match or united way donation, have a jeans day or dress down day at school, host your own Scoops or Swim challenge (we have all the instructions and gear), or something else that works for you, or just donate! So many lives, including my own, depend on us making real advancements in mbc! Together we can move the needle – look at what we’ve done in just our second year! Thank you all so much for your support!