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Elton John, Leonard Lauder Go Virtual for BCRF Hot Pink Party

The event may have had to move online because of the coronavirus, but it still raised $5.2 million for BCRF.

The Lauder family, Elizabeth Hurley and Elton John all made digital appearances at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s annual Hot Pink Party, which took place virtually this year. Before the coronavirus, the event was fêted at the Park Avenue Armory in recent years. 

Nile Rodgers, BCRF
Nile Rodgers performed “We Are Family” for the BCRF Virtual Hot Pink Party. Courtesy of BCRF

Despite the shift in circumstances, BCRF said it raised $5.2 million for breast cancer research during the event, which was held on May 20. More than 1,150 guests attended virtually, organizers said, for an evening that included singing from Broadway stars, including Lin-Manuel Miranda, and emotional stories from celebrities like Rachael Ray and actress Carly Hughes. Karlie Kloss and Edie Falco also sent through video messages. Nile Rodgers closed out the evening with a performance, with Chic, of “We Are Family.”

“The novel coronavirus has had a devastating impact around the globe … but as we know too well, breast cancer doesn’t stop for the coronavirus, and neither can we,” said event lead co-chair Kinga Lampert.

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Elizabeth Hurley BCRF
Elizabeth Hurley hosted the BCRF virtual Hot Pink Party on May 20. Courtesy of BCRF

The event, produced by Steven Tabakin, featured videos of Hurley doing her usual hosting duties in a hot pink gown in front of a disco-inspired backdrop. “The sad reality is we are all affected by breast cancer,” Hurley said, recalling that she lost her grandmother to the disease. Leonard Lauder, chairman emeritus of the Estée Lauder Cos., spoke in a video from his home in Maine. “The BCRF is the greatest thing in the world because it’s helped so many millions of people,” Lauder said.

John urged virtual attendees to “stay strong.” “Until the day that we can all celebrate the end of breast cancer, I want you to know, I stand with all of you,” he said.

Ray spoke about her friend, personality Gretta Monahan, who went through her breast cancer journey in the public eye on Ray’s show. “She shared her entire experience so that every woman could know, step by step, what she was going through as it was happening,” Ray said.

Ballet dancer Maggie Kudirka also shared her journey. “Since the COVID crisis occurred, cancer patients got a new, new normal. Our support system and loved ones are no longer allowed to come with us to treatments and doctor’s appointments. We have to keep our distance from everyone because of our immune system. We have to wear extra protective gear, but we still need our treatments and we are still figuring it out. We as a community are in uncharted waters and we’ll get through this together.”

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