in the Pink
October has become synonymous with promoting breast-health
Lauder is a woman with supreme focus and boundless energy.
An astute businesswoman who is senior corporate vice president
for her family business, The Estée Lauder Companies,
she is also a talented photographer, sportswoman and activist,
and a devoted wife, mother and grandmother.
Lauder and boxers at the 2004 luncheon.
Myra Biblowit, Deborah Krulewitch, Jeanette Wagner,
Lauder and Peg Mastrianni at the 2004 luncheon.
So it's no surprise that the Breast
Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), which Lauder founded
in 1993, shares her clear sense of purpose.
“We have one single focus,”
said BCRF president Myra Biblowit, “and that is to
support the most promising clinical and genetic research
in breast cancer. We have a single goal, and that is what
we do better than anybody.”
In October, BCRF will distribute grants
of $22 million to more than 110 researchers in the U.S.,
Europe, Latin America, Israel and Canada. In the past few
years, foundation grants have helped fund testing on six
vaccines, the development of new drugs to slow tumor growth
and prevent the disease from spreading, and the world's
largest study exploring the ability of radiotherapy to cure
DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). BCRF was the only private
funder of other efforts, including a groundbreaking study
on how exercise and weight control can delay breast cancer
The foundation scours the world looking
for new ideas to support, often providing research teams
the early break they need to develop fundamental data required
before a project can be considered for federal funding,
Biblowit said. By funding creative research, the foundation
is fostering the think-outside-the-box breakthroughs needed
to defeat breast cancer.
“I am completely optimistic that
we will find a cure for and be able to prevent breast cancer
– and that this will happen within the next 15 years
or less,” said Lauder.
Because BCRF keeps its operating costs
low, a minimum of 85 cents of each dollar donated goes directly
to research and awareness programs, an achievement that's
nearly unheard of among charitable organizations. In fact,
currently BCRF is the only breast cancer organization to
receive an “A” from the American Institute of
Philanthropy, a national watchdog group.
On October 18, BCRF leaders will commemorate
Breast Cancer Awareness Month by gathering with friends,
grantees and donors at the Waldorf-Astoria for its annual
Symposium and Awards Luncheon, a must on the social calendar
of those devoted to the cause. René Syler of The
Early Show on CBS will host the event, and noted artist
Chuck Close (who will receive the BCRF Humanitarian Award),
Anne Eisenhower Flottl and Gigi Mortimer are expected to
be among the 1,000 attendees.
The luncheon is one of several much-anticipated
BCRF events across the country, including its spring gala
hosted each year by actress/model Elizabeth Hurley and featuring
performances by Elton John.
In addition, BCRF will receive the proceeds
from the sale of dozens of special items – from Bobbi
Brown lip gloss and Carolee jewelry to a Burberry pink leather
trench coat and a $4,000 Cartier watch – during October
Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The foundation is also the
sole beneficiary of Play for P.I.N.K., which organizes more
than 100 golf tournaments in 11 states.
A year before she founded BCRF, Lauder
collaborated with Alexandra Penney, then the editor of Self
magazine, to designate the pink ribbon as the universal
symbol of breast health awareness. The ribbon serves as
a reminder about the importance of education, early detection
“...One tiny idea can be expanded
beyond anyone's wildest dreams,” Lauder said.
“By reaching as many people as possible with the message
that early detection saves lives … we can continue
to drive those numbers down and ultimately make them obsolete.”
image one: Paul Schneck, image two: Mary Hilliard, image
three: Mary Hilliard, image four: Paul Schneck.