Saks Fifth Avenue was full of excited guests Friday morning as Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), an affiliate of City of Hope, partnered with Saks Fifth Avenue at Biltmore Fashion Park to host the 9th annual Key to the Cure breakfast fashion show. It featured gourmet food, drinks, a designer-items raffle, and an exclusive peek at the latest fashions from designers including Zang Toi, Alice+Olivia and Akris while celebrating women, and raising money for research towards breast, ovarian and other cancers.
Jan Lewis is one of three co-chairs along with Lisa Portigal and Mary Ellen McKee, who helped plan and champion the 2018 Key to the Cure breakfast fashion show.
“This is TGen’s 9th year as the beneficiary of this morning fashion show at Saks. Because of the compelling presentations by TGen researchers, the dozens of participants come away each year from this event with a greater understanding of the scientific progress TGen — and their southern California affiliate, City of Hope,” Lewis said. “They are finding new and better treatments for breast, ovarian and other women’s cancers. Plus the institutes’ progress in all the other medical conditions that they tackle, including brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, metabolic diseases like diabetes, and a host of infectious diseases, from anthrax to the Zika virus.”
Erin Massey, Chief Development Officer at TGen, and Vice President of Philanthropy at City of Hope, said over the past nine years, hundreds of dedicated volunteers and caring members of the community have experienced a highlight of the fall social season—the morning fashion show. “It’s an emotionally uplifting morning of friendship, fun and fashion. These energized participants become community ambassadors for TGen and City of Hope, spreading the word about what we do and how patients benefit,” Massey said.
Each year, the fashion show has a public ambassador to increase awareness of Key to the Cure; this year’s is award-winning actress and breast cancer survivor Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She also helped design the Key to the Cure t-shirt, which reads, “We are fighters & we are fighting for a cure,” with Wes Gordon for Carolina Herrera. All proceeds from sales of the exclusive $35 t-shirts will go towards the AiRS Foundation (Alliance in Reconstructive Surgery) which provides post-mastectomy reconstructive surgery for breast cancer survivors who otherwise could not afford the procedures. The t-shirts are available at Saks Fifth Avenue for purchase throughout October—which is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
“In her recent interview with Vogue magazine, Louis-Dreyfus said that her biggest revelation in conquering her breast cancer — and one of her key motivations in promoting Key to the Cure — is the high cost of healthcare,” Lewis said. “One of the goals that is not mentioned enough about TGen’s research is the fact that better diagnostics, treatments and prevention are all part of a larger effort to not only keep patients healthier, but to make healthcare better, faster, more efficient and cost-effective — and more available to women.”
“Saks is a phenomenal partner in this effort,” Lewis said. Not only is this the fashion show’s 9th year hosted by Saks Fifth Avenue, but is also the 20th anniversary of Saks’ Key to the Cure, Lewis said, through which nearly $40 million nationwide has been raised over the past 20 years for women’s cancer research and treatments. In addition, 10% of all qualifying sales up to $25,000 at their Phoenix store during Saks’ Friends and Family weekend Oct. 5-7 will go towards TGen research.
Massey said with the proceeds from this year’s fashion show, they anticipate the total donations from the event over the past nine years will be over $1 million.
“The awareness generated by our participants, and the good word they spread throughout the community, is incalculable,” Massey said. “Saks and TGen both benefit from the exposure derived from Key to the Cure. The funds raised for TGen and City of Hope becomes seed money that we can use to launch revolutionary and promising lines of research, and use the success of those pilot programs as leverage to pursue larger federal research grants, which ultimately benefit patients across the globe.”
“We hope to continue our extraordinary relationship with Saks and be able to make each year’s Key to the Cure fashion show more informative and meaningful for our supporters and the patients we serve,” Massey said.