Blog: In Living Pink 2013
As news of Angelina Jolie’s recent double mastectomy captured the Hollywood headlines for much of last week, it was perhaps only fitting that the Young Survival Coalition’s “In Living Pink” annual fundraiser and gala would take place in New York City on Friday evening. Attended by more than seventy breast cancer survivors, the uplifting evening became a true inspiration that featured celebrity guests, an outstanding silent auction, and a full on casino night, but in reality allowed us to connect that real people are affected by the perils of this disease- women young and old. And despite the challenges of fighting breast cancer, the hundreds of guests that gathered on Friday night rallied together in a united front, standing tall, refusing to give up hope.
The posh event space of Capitale on Bowery would play host to the YSC’s event, a nonprofit celebrating their fifteenth year together in the battle against breast cancer. Through the use of their outreach programs, the Coalition focuses on young women, offering resources to help support patients- to keep them positive and educated, and act as a network as they cope with their diagnosis and eventual treatment. Guests would arrive prior to the evening’s 8pm start time, surrounded by a plethora of interactive games ranging from Roulette and Blackjack to the likes of Deal or No Deal and a large prize wheel, doling out even more raffle tickets and casino vouchers. With a live DJ working the mix and a delicious selection of passed around hors d’oeuvres, the philanthropic clientele would make their arrivals dressed to the nines- long gowns, suits and ties- only fitting for such an important charitable gala. Celebrity attendees meanwhile- like New York Giants lineman David Diehl and CBS2’s Chris Wragge, who would emcee the evening’s main program- took the time to pose for pictures with excited guests on the red carpet as they arrived.
YSC Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Merschdorf would welcome the large crowd in attendance in an effort to thank them for their donations, and introduce a short video highlighting the incredible work being done by the Coalition and the actual patients helped and potentially saved because of its existence. With the goal of $15,000 raised for the evening from text message contributions alone, Merschdorf urged the attendees to dig even deeper into their pockets and successfully raised upwards of a whopping $25,000, all to benefit the YSC’s programs. The event’s most poignant moment occurred as cancer survivors were asked to raise their pink glowsticks into the air in a show of unity, and then those of us who may know anyone stricken with cancer in our personal lives were asked to follow suit. The dark room, now illuminated in a sea of pink lights, highlighted visually just how serious and wide spread the disease truly is- a shocking, but somehow uplifting illustration, showing how many inspirational guests had conquered cancer’s stranglehold.
We’ve certainly come a long way in the battle against cancer. The color pink has become synonymous with the fight itself- be it on t-shirts, on the uniforms of our favorite athletes, or even a ribbon worn to show support in recognition of the brave many that have been forced against their will to have to fight the disease. With many fundraising events, it’s easy to forget the true purpose of the evening, despite the cause being a notable one. But “In Living Pink” put on by the Young Survival Coalition insisted that not only are we aware of their efforts, but we also should be celebrating their successes. In providing the support and education necessary for young women maligned with breast cancer, the YSC is aiming to save the one part of the body that cancer simply cannot harm- the human spirit.
- Jane Van Arsdale