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Actress Bernadette Peters, former NFL defensive end Marcellus Wiley and “Good Morning America” correspondent Robin Roberts ushered in this year’s Breast Cancer Research Foundation awards luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria Wednesday.
The event, dubbed the Hot Pink luncheon, included a humanitarian award for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and capped a month-long breast cancer awareness campaign by the BCRF, which included the illumination in pink light of more than 200 landmarks around the world. The organization’s fund-raising efforts in the last year yielded nearly $35 million, which was awarded at the luncheon to 166 doctors, scientists and researchers worldwide.
That morning, a symposium was held to address the challenges researchers face when identifying types of cells that can become cancerous. It included a panel of five doctors moderated by Larry Norton, M.D., of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, who is also scientific director and chairman of the BCRF Executive Board of Scientific Advisors.
“This luncheon is a major effort on our part,” noted Evelyn Lauder, senior corporate vice president of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., who founded the BCRF in 1993. “We gave back to our donors with the symposium, to help them understand what our doctors are doing.”
Bloomberg accepted the BCRF’s Humanitarian Award from Peters for his philanthropic efforts as well as his healthy living, eating and smoke-free initiatives. Calling cancer a “cruel, devastating disease,” he praised the BCRF’s efforts to raise some $225 million to support research since its founding.
Robert A. Weinberg, Ph.D., was honored with the Jill Rose Award for Distinguished Scientific Achievement. He noted in his acceptance remarks that in the past 20 to 30 years, there has been a 30 percent drop in age-adjusted mortality rates from breast cancer.