Survivors and supporters gathered Saturday evening for the 13th annual Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation’s Hamptons Happening fund-raiser, which was held under a tent in the sweeping backyard of Maria and Kenneth Fishel’s Bridgehampton, N.Y. estate.
“We’ve raised $90 million to give away to collaborative,” remarked Marion Waxman of the nonprofit her physician husband founded in the Seventies. “The inspiration is to obliterate cancer from this world so the next time we have a great event, it’s a celebration of life and not just a concern about how many lives we hope to save.”
Among the guests personally impacted by the disease was Margaret Hayes, The Fashion Group International’s president and chief executive officer, who was being honored by the organization. “I’m a breast cancer survivor and Dr. Waxman is reasonably unique in that [his foundation] is broadly based and not specific to one cancer. What’s really interesting is that he’s taking an initiative to look at cancer and aging.”
Donning a red Prada suit, Rufus Wainwright was joined by his aunt, Teddy Wainwright, also a survivor, and shared memories of his late mother Kate McGarrigle who lost her battle with clear-cell sarcoma seven years ago.
“I go to a lot of events out here, whether it’s the Watermill benefit or things at The Stephen Talkhouse, and it’s all fine and dandy but doing work to fight this disease is my main philanthropic enterprise,” he explained.
In addition to his charitable efforts the singer-songwriter — who performed at the event — has kept busy finishing an opera based on the Roman emperor Hadrian, which is set to premiere next year in Toronto. “I just got this necklace in Aspen, Colo., on my birthday, which is July 22,” he explained of the thumbnail sized piece of jewelry nestled in his graying chest hair. “It’s an original Roman coin set in gold. I’m almost at the fourth act and there are four acts, so I’m about to slice the head off the snake. I’m hoping this talisman will bode well.”
Wearing a black-and-white Cushnie et Ochs jumpsuit, singer Sophie Beem stood confidently beside the wide array of local food venders offering everything from mini charcuterie plates to a kaleidoscopic display of macarons.
“I picked this out,” she said with a smile. “I actually love styling myself and I love fashion, but I’m really picky too.”
Last year the 18-year-old singer opened for Beyoncé on her Formation World Tour and learned from the Grammy winner’s style and technique. “She told me to run on the treadmill and sing at the same time because it helps with stage stamina. I was doing an hour of it when we were on tour and I don’t know if [Beyoncé] does an hour, but she runs on the treadmill in heels. She knows some good brands for heels, but I like platforms. I’m not ready for heels yet — give me a couple more years.”