Before a personal appearance at Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship Tuesday, Elizabeth Hurley paused to reflect on the years she’s spent as a spokeswoman for the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.’s Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, which benefits the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
“It’s been 19 years since Evelyn Lauder asked me to help her with her then-newly founded BCA campaign,” said a pink Versace-clad Hurley of the BCRF’s late founder. “This is the year that it’s really hit me how much has been achieved by the awareness campaign. It started when I was in London last week and two of the research scientists who we support pointed out 19 years ago, when women would come to them with tumors, they’d be big tumors that were hard to operate on. And then they said it’s very rare nowadays that somebody will come with a tumor that size. They all come small and are discovered early, and of course they’re much, much more curable — 90 percent curable if they’re found early. It was a really great to hear that in our lifetime of working with this cause, that’s made such a difference.”
This story first appeared in the October 4, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Now, she pointed out, the campaign is evolving. “Awareness is fantastic, we’ll never let up on it, and now let’s get more active and get to the next stage, with the final stage being the cure.”
In the meantime, the campaign is activating “Circles of Strength,” with a theme of “Let’s Defeat Breast Cancer. We’re Stronger Together.” The updated strategy will involve shifting the BCA campaign’s primary focus to increased action rather than just awareness. Social and digital programs will invite people from around the world to create their own “Circles of Strength” consisting of their friends, family, coworkers and loved ones who can comment, share and rally around any action — large or small — that might advance the cause of eradicating breast cancer altogether.
“It can be anything from encouraging your best friend to have a mammogram or making healthy lifestyle choices,” said Hurley, who was joined at the appearance by Leonard Lauder, chairman emeritus of the Estée Lauder Cos., and Michael Gould, chairman and chief executive officer of Bloomingdale’s.
Later, Gould hosted a dinner for 40 people at the David Burke Townhouse. The highlight of the evening was a round of toasts which Gould led off by saying that one the reasons that Bloomingdale’s participates so strongly in fund-raising for the cause is to generate a feeling of specialness. What’s important in life, he pointed out, is not sales totals or space and location on the selling floor, but, as Evelyn Lauder insisted — “We are supposed to give back.”
Leonard Lauder summed up the sentiment in the room, with “our mission is to make this world free of breast cancer.”
Many Estée Lauder Cos. brands — this year Aveda, Bobbi Brown, Bumble and bumble, Clinique, Coach, Darphin, Donna Karan Cosmetics, Estée Lauder, Jo Malone London, La Mer, Lab Series, Origins, Prescriptives, Smashbox and Tom Ford Beauty — earmark special editions for the BCA, with varying percentages of proceeds going to support BCRF scientists; 100 percent of the sales of one product, an enameled compact named for Evelyn Lauder, will be donated to the BCRF.
Since its inception, the BCA Campaign has raised more than $48 million to support global research, education and medical services, and $38 million of that has funded 152 BCRF research projects worldwide in the past 20 years. This year’s BCA Campaign is committed to raising $5 million to support breast cancer research, education and medical services worldwide.
A donation of $50 through bcacampaign.com represents approximately one hour of lifesaving research and goes directly to BCRF. Each $250,000 raised fully supports a BCRF research project for one year.