NEW YORK — Evelyn Lauder kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a bang late last week, raising awareness — and nearly $265,000 — for the cause in three cities in as many days.

“Last year, our programs got more attention than ever, and this year our goal is to outdo ourselves,” said Lauder, who is senior corporate vice president of the Estée Lauder Cos. and founder and chairman of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. “We won’t stop until this disease has been cured — and I hope by our 20th anniversary that we’re out of business. We’re not doing this to sell lipsticks. We’re doing this to save lives.” Since being founded in 1993, the BCRF has raised more than $70 million to fund clinical and genetic research on breast cancer.

Lauder joined spokesmodel Elizabeth Hurley as well as Leonard Lauder, chairman of the Estée Lauder Cos., and Fred Langhammer, president and chief executive officer of the Estée Lauder Cos., at the company’s headquarters here for a sale for employees the morning of Oct. 1. The effort, which involved each brand selling products and other items for the cause, raised nearly $200,000 over a three-day period.

Next, Lauder and Hurley traveled to Minneapolis, where a slate of activities was planned with the Mall of America, which is partnering with the Lauder Cos. and the BCRF to raise awareness and funds. More than 5,000 guests attended a reception at the mall’s Camp Snoopy, which was followed by live and silent auctions that raised a combined $35,000. A pink Harley drew the top bid of $10,750. Pop singer Anastacia, herself a breast cancer survivor, also gave an impromptu a cappela performance during the live auction. Also at the auction, Pepsi presented a check for $21,500 to the BCRF, representing 25 cents for each specially marked 12-pack of Pepsi sold in the Minneapolis area during the month of September.

After the auctions, more than 1,000 people grabbed pink fluorescent glow sticks and headed out to the mall’s parking lot, standing on an outline of a ribbon to form the Ribbon of Light. For the past four years, Lauder has lighted landmarks such as Niagara Falls and the Tower of Pisa as part of its Global Landmarks Illumination Initiative; the Ribbon of Light was a new initiative to take this campaign to another level, Lauder noted. As well, more than 27 colleges and universities to date are joining the awareness initiative this month by distributing pink ribbons and awareness bookmarks.On Oct. 2, Lauder and Hurley hosted a breakfast at the mall’s branch of Nordstrom, followed by personal appearances at Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. Together, the events were estimated by sources to have raised $13,000 in three hours.

At Nordstrom, Lauder and Hurley joined Bob Middlemas, executive vice president and regional manager for the Midwest for Nordstrom, and 75 VIP customers for a breakfast. “I’m sure, like me, you feel enormously proud to be a part of this effort,” Hurley told the Nordstrom crowd. “We all know someone who has been touched by breast cancer, and it’s important that we continue to work towards finding a cure.”

After finishing at Nordstrom, Hurley and Lauder headed to Bloomingdale’s, where their appearance even drew a few beauty advisers from competing stores. A Marshall Field’s Estée Lauder beauty adviser, Elizabeth Pink, stopped by Bloomingdale’s to meet Hurley and Lauder, who were signing both baseball caps and a limited-edition Pure Color lipstick shade called Elizabeth Pink, which is a pink shade named after Hurley. More than 150 baseball caps at $10 per cap and 80 Elizabeth Pink lipsticks at $22 per item were sold.

At Macy’s, more than 160 exclusive T-shirts at $12 each and 70 lipsticks were sold. “It’s been our privilege to partner with a number of the Estée Lauder Cos. divisions to raise awareness and funds to support this valuable research,” said Ed Beuchel, general manager of the Macy’s door at the Mall of America.

Not only did the BCRF benefit, but Lauder brands did as well, reportedly to the tune of triple-digit increases in Lauder brand business for that day, as well as sales jumps for sister brands Clinique, Prescriptives, MAC and Stila.

After finishing in Minneapolis, Lauder traveled to Washington, D.C., where she appeared at a Hecht’s event sponsored by Lauder for breast cancer survivors. Six Estée Lauder makeup artists did makeovers in a tented area in front of the store. Lauder then presided over a second Ribbon of Light, with about 200 customers, then attended a dinner for BCRF donors, sponsored by Neiman Marcus.

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