Outside the tent at Steven Klein’s West Kill Farm, the rain had whipped into a a furious thunder, but the sounds of Tito Puento Jr. and his 10 piece band were all we could hear. The cocktail hour at the Ellen Hermanson Foundation’s Summer Gala, Veinte had just begun, but the serious Latin beat already had partygoers on the floor. Who knew Joan Jedell was once a Latin dance teacher? Or that Event Coordinator Linda Shapiro had known Tito Puento Jr.?
“People really loved the party,” said Julie Ratner, who founded the Ellen P. Hermanson Foundation in honor of her sister who died from breast cancer in 1995. “The East End of Long Island has one of the highest rates of diagnosis and mortality in the state. So this is important work.”
When Julie started Ellen’s Run around her kitchen table in 1996, naysayers thought she’d be lucky to raise even $1,000. Today, she has changed the medical landscape in the Hamptons. There is the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center at Southampton Hospital, a breast cancer support program called Ellen’s Well and a Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert legal think tank. Now, the Hospital’s Breast Center is expanding to Hamptons Bays, featuring the most sophisticated mammogram equipment to date. “The hospital expects to perform an addition 2,000 – 2,500 mammograms a year,” Ratner told Hamptons.com. “And no one is denied treatment for being uninsured and under insured.”
Jean Shafiroff chaired the event, which honored Andy Sabin. Ann Ciardullo, Hope Klein Langer, Vice Chair Emily Levin, Hugo Moreno, Chair Julie Ratner, Iris Shokoff and Cathy Tweedy make up the Foundation’s Board. Mark Massone provided flowers for Veinte and look for the Sequin bangles from the Goodie Bags glamming up Hamptons’ wrists.
A broken ankle sidelined Ginny Booth, Director of Suffolk Literacy, who was scheduled to address the room. Going through chemo herself, she wrote from the Ellen Hermanson Center, “Sitting in the waiting room watching all types of women passing through, it was like a rainbow and each and every worker performing to make patients feel comfortable. Clearly everyone knows what they’re doing and how to treat the women, some probably traumatized, who entered through those doors.”
As Julie said, “When you’re sick and you’re scared, you want people who are really smart and really nice.”
Ellen’s Run will take place on Sunday, August 16th, starting from the Parrish Memorial Hall at Southampton Hospital.
For more information, visit ellensrun.org.