With her beatific smile and can do ethic, Julie Ratner spreads a culture of caring as she moves through this world. 21 years ago, Julie created Ellen’s Run from her kitchen table, to carry on the work of her sister, Ellen Hermanson, felled by breast cancer while working to support other women battling the disease. Today, thanks to Ratner’s fundraising, state of the art medical treatment and psychosocial support are available to all women on Long Island, regardless of ability to pay. We felt the love at the Ellen Hermanson Foundation’s Starry Night, chaired by Jean Shafiroff, on the grounds of the Southampton Hospital gala.
Geraldo Rivera and wife Erica, Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley and wife Marianne, President and CEO of Southampton Hospital Robert Chaloner, Hope Klein and Larry Langer, Martin Shafiroff, Dee Rivera, Iron Chef’s Alexandra Guarnaschelli, Anne Burrel, Valerie and Carl Kempner, Bobbie Braun, Anna Throne-Holst, Robin and Dominick D’Alleva, Sara Herbert Galloway and Barry Klarberg, Jane and Joe Pontarelli, as well as Board Members Patti Kenner, Vice Chair Emily Levin, Hugo Moreno, Iris Shokoff, Cathy Tweedy and Rivalyn Zweig were among the guests. Singer Meredith O’Connor performed. Chris Robbins of Robbins Wolfe Eventeurs catered, and Monte Farber served as auctioneer.
“Our mission, to insure access to state of the art quality breast care and to enable people affected by cancer, has been successful because we adhere very strictly to it,” Ratner told the room. “And because of that we have literally changed the medical landscape on the East End of Long Island.”
The organization has raised more than $3.5 million to support East End breast care and legal issues, funded two Ellen Hermanson Southampton Hospital Breast Centers, with top diagnostic equipment, and Ellen’s Well, a psychosocial support for breast cancer survivors.
It’s all to carry on the legacy of Ellen, who was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer at the age of 36, with a six month old daughter. “Ellen considered herself a teacher,” Julie said. “As her disease progressed, she used her time to advocate and write about the need for support and education.”
Taking up that mantle, honoree Jennifer Finkelstein founded 5 Under 40 to support the special issues that women under the age of 40, diagnosed with breast cancer, face. Jennifer was diagnosed five weeks before her wedding, at the age of 32.
Also honored was the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center’s medical staff, with Ratner citing their “service to the community, which combines the rigor of a teaching hospital and the caring of a community hospital.”
With the state of the art diagnostic equipment, treatment and therapy available to all East End women in need, and Ellen’s daughter Leora graduating law school, Julie Ratner seems to have fulfilled a promise she made to herself. Her next hope? To reach the day when a cure is found, and Ellen’s Well can run dry.
For more information about The Ellen Hermanson Foundation, visit www.ellensrun.org.