I was lucky to score a ticket to this dazzling event. I serve on the national board of directors of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance which was selected as the charity to benefit from Jack LaLanne’s 95th Birthday Party.
It was a resounding success, not just financially but because it broke the stigma of talking about gynecologic cancer in glamorous circles. It was a major move forward in women’s cancers.
Keith Mirchandani, President, CEO and Founder of Tristar Products Inc. that markets the Jack LaLanne Juicer, lost his mother to ovarian cancer. Sadly, like most women with the disease, she was diagnosed too late and nothing could save her life. To honor his mother, Mirchandani and LaLanne agreed to use the fitness icon’s birthday as a fundraising opportunity that could save other women.
What was remarkable about the event was that the chic, star-studded LA crowd was interested in ovarian cancer, its symptoms, and - most importantly – its support. Three hundred fifty guests, including Governor Schwarzenegger and numerous celebrities like Montel Williams, Lou Ferrigno and LaLanne-buddy Bob Barker, gathered at the swank Beverly Wilshire hotel for a night of dining and dancing and giving.
Having been on the fundraising side of ovarian cancer for several years, I can attest that this attitude is a welcome departure. Unlike the enthusiasm surrounding pink-ribbon marketing, ovarian cancer’s teal has been a hard sell. Mostly, marketers are not sure about the effect of gynecologic disease on the consumer’s propensity to buy. It just isn’t sexy.
But on this night, this crowd cheered as a new juicer with teal detailing was unveiled for ovarian cancer. Jack and Elaine LaLanne, whose family has been touched by the disease, expressed remarkable generosity for the cause, furthering their commitment to women’s health. And, an important leader in patient advocacy, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, received funding to help sustain critical programs. This group is the champion of women in circles that impact the future of the disease:
* On Capitol Hill, we secure federal budget appropriations for ovarian cancer research and education.