Spend a little time with Julie Ratner, who created the Ellen Hermanson Foundation and then, the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, and one thing becomes clear. More than a figurehead and fundraiser, she has been a spiritual support to countless women on the East End diagnosed with breast cancer. Her foundation is also a financial support to those in need of the free state of the art care that is her creed. Complain about your crows feet and she will lovingly remind you aging is a privilege: she had just left the bedside of a 30-something woman who will never see her own children grow up.
The room at the Ellen Hermanson Foundation’s gala, An Evening of Enchantment, a gourmet dinner at the Topping Rose House that Jean Shafiroff once again chaired, was filled with people whose lives Julie has personally touched. “She saw me through it,” former In the Pink honoree Rita Wasserman told us, before raising her paddle to donate more.
“We all know the rate of breast cancer out here in Long Island is one of the highest in the country,” Jean Shafiroff told the room, as she introduced Julie. “And when we think of breast cancer support, we think of Julie Ratner and the Ellen Hermanson Foundation. They’ve done so much to help women. Julie, you are a force and you are a loved woman.”
Bridgehampton National Bank (BNB), their Chairperson of the Board of Directors Marcia Hefter, and Senator Kenneth Lavalle were honored. Broadway’s Fiddler on the Roof star Samantha Massell and composer and lyricist Madeline Myers provided a transcendent cabaret performance. Lucas Hunt was auctioneer. DJ Sam Santiago worked the after party beats.
Besides Jean and Martin Shafiroff, amongst those in the room were Stony Brook Southampton Hospital Chief Administrative Officer Robert Chaloner and Chief Development Officer Steven M. Bernstein with wife Debbie, Mayor Jessee Warren, Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, Sam Eskenazi, Jane and Joe Pontarelli, Foundation Executive Director Anne Gomberg and Event Planner Sara Blue, Dustin Lujan and Victor dE Souza.
Board members in the room were Amanda Frazer, Amanda Polk, Ann Ciardullo, Cathy Tweedy, Connie Chen, Dee Rivera, Hope and Hugo Moreno.
“Pretty much everyone knows the Ellen Hermanson Foundation and Ellen’s Run,” Julie said in her remarks. “What you might not know is that we have literally transformed the medical landscape of the East End. We have done this by adhering to our mission: To ensure access to state-of-the-art breast health care and to enable people affected by cancer. How do we define state of the art? It means we have a technologically superior facility that has the most sophisticated and up-to-date equipment for screening and diagnostic mammography. It means having support systems in place for patients when they are newly diagnosed, going through treatment and post treatment. And the Foundation has enabled this high level of care by working closely with Stony Brook Southampton Hospital to maintain the Ellen Hermanson Breast Centers and by funding Ellen’s Well, a program that is dedicated to addressing the anxiety and stress concomitant with a diagnosis of breast cancer by providing psychosocial support free of charge to breast cancer patients and survivors. Our work affects real people in real time.”
Julie started the Foundation with sibling Emily Levin, in honor of Ellen, their sister felled by breast cancer. While undergoing tough treatments, Ellen also advocated for others. Today, Ellen’s legacy is the lives saved and improved by early detection and cutting edge treatment, in her name.
For more information, visit www.ellenhermanson.org.