It doesn't take much to get Hoda Kotb feeling good: It's as easy as playing a good tune. "I realized there are very few things that with a snap of a finger can change everything," she said. Her choice at the Breast Cancer Alliance's 15th annual benefit luncheon Thursday was Marvin Gaye's "What's the Matter With You Baby?" The tune got the crowd clapping and singing.
The co-host of the fourth hour of NBC's "Today" show told the crowd of 800 people at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich of how she was diagnosed in 2007 with breast cancer. Kotb said that after her surgery, she never wanted to hear about breast cancer again. Then she met a fan on a plane who told her, "Don't hog your journey, it's not just for you. ... Think of how many people you could have helped."
The luncheon attendees were enveloped in a mass of pink, the symbolic color of breast cancer awareness, when they were instructed to put on the pink cashmere gloves at their seats and raise their hands. In celebration of the alliance's 15 years, a video created by employees of the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Ore., dubbed the "Pink Glove Dance" was played. The alliance encouraged attendees to bid during the silent auction and donate to help provide mammograms for the uninsured and underprivileged.
"Because of organizations like the Breast Cancer Alliance, instead of fearing breast cancer as a death sentence, we celebrate more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors," said Indra Nooyi, CEO and chairman of Pepsi.
The founders of the alliance Valerie Marchese, Cecile McCaull, Kenny King Howe, Susan Elia, Dr. Steve Lo and Lucy Day received Mary Waterman Awards in honor of the group's founder, who died from breast cancer in 1997.
"The BCA was formed based on friendship, and it was Mary Waterman's friends who rallied behind her," said Margaret Sinclair, president of the alliance.
The luncheon concluded with a fashion show by Mitchells-Richards and a standing ovation for local doctors and researchers who played models for a day.
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