NEW YORK — The 19th Annual DreamBall award ceremony was simple and brief. But it was heartfelt and the result was a record-breaking $2.5 million donation to the American Cancer Society benefiting the Look Good…Feel Better program.
At the Waldorf Astoria Wednesday night, the beauty industry gathered to honor Robert Mettler, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s West and Jean-Paul Agon, president and chief executive officer of L’Oréal USA, for their respective support of cancer research and support programs including Look Good…Feel Better, the national initiative of the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association Foundation, the American Cancer Society and the National Cosmetology Association. The program helps cancer patients use cosmetics and other beauty treatments to improve their self-esteem after suffering the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Cancer survivor Darla Humrich, honored as “Dream Girl 2003,” recalled what it was like at age 38 to look in the mirror and see no hair and no eyebrows, and even the initial resentment that she was the youngest woman in her Look Good…Feel Better class. However, the anger melted quickly, she told the crowd of beauty industry executives, when each of the women was presented with a bag of cosmetics goodies and began trying on wigs. “We started giggling and carrying on like school girls at a slumber party.”
L’Oréal’s Agon has spent time with cancer patients at Look Good…Feel Better sessions. “It was one of the most moving experiences I have had in my professional life,” he said. Mettler remarked that his family, like too many others, also has been touched by cancer. Four of his father’s five sisters died of the disease.
Stephen Spero, president of the Eastern Division Board of Directors of the American Cancer Society, called the festivities a “landmark event,” and used the occasion to reveal plans from the ACS to construct a new facility called Hope Lodge, a 75-room hotel in Manhattan where families of cancer patients being treated here can stay for free. A community resource center also is planned that will provide information on quality-of-life programs. The initiatives will get under way next year.
After the presentations, the evening gave way to frivolity with dinner and dancing. And L’Oréal brought in several of its models to help draw attention to the cause. Andie MacDowell, Mena Suvari, Tomiko Fraser and Devon Aoki were among those lending their glamour.