By  on November 30, 2005

MILAN — Shelley Schwartz, founder of the Breast Health Institute, couldn't have picked a better day than Thanksgiving to personally thank Donatella Versace for lending her face and donating the institute's first real ad campaign.

"Grazie to Donatella Versace for her support and for her involvement. The fact that she lent her face to the campaign will make reaching our goals easier," said Schwartz during a press conference at the Versace Via Gesú palazzo.

"I feel honored to support this cause because I feel it's important to remove that veil of ignorance and fear that still surrounds this illness," said Versace.

She added that she tapped her friend Mario Testino to shoot the black-and-white campaign in a London studio because she felt his images would give the cause more weight.

The campaign will appear in leading publications in Italy, the U.K. and Germany because the institute wants to raise awareness on the issue in those countries. The fact that it runs from December to July makes it the most extended campaign to date.

To celebrate the launch of the campaign, the Versace company will host charity events starting in its London store on Dec. 13, followed by Rome two days later. A percentage of the proceeds from sales will go to the Breast Health Institute, which held its fifth International Consensus Conference in Milan in April to develop guidelines to review what has been learned about breast health in the past 25 years.

Schwartz praised Italy for being ahead in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.

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