Pink Aid’s 5th Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon at Mitchells of Westport lived up to the expectations of the more than 500 women and men who came together to celebrate the organization’s milestone and to promote its continuing mission: to improve the lives of uninsured and underinsured women here in Connecticut as they undergo testing, treatment and recovery from breast cancer. Each year brings more surprises; more stories of courage, grace and humor in the face of difficulty and love and support amidst struggle.

Reflection — looking back at where the organization began and forward to where it is heading — was an important component of the year’s event from the design theme coordinated by Connecticut Cottages & Gardens to the event program and the warrior fashion show. Top area interior designers created mirrored furnishings to echo the theme and reflect the incredible Silent Auction items available throughout the store — from luxe pink bags to travel packages from Valerie Wilson Travel, jewelry and many unique items, services and experiences.
Jennifer Griffin, FOX foreign security correspondent, mother of three and Triple-negative survivor, adopted “Pay it forward” as the guiding mantra she uses to inspire herself and other women undergoing treatment and recovery from breast cancer. Ms. Griffin brought the crowd to tears with her heartfelt account of discovering her breast cancer while nursing her infant son and her fears as she marks the passage of time from diagnosis in the growth of her now 6 year old. She urged the listeners to live in the moment and be present despite any chaos around them.

Manolo Blahnik was all the rage — his signature Pink Aid pumps designed for this 5th year anniversary, were everywhere on and off the runway. Famed designer and cancer activist Donna Karan showed her final Resort Collection full of wonderfully wearable pieces in creamy cottons as well as red-carpet-ready gowns met by spontaneous cheers and audible gasps. The Warrior Fashion Show featuring women in our communities living with and beyond the diagnosis of breast cancer boasted a few surprises this year. Mari Hunt, walking again this year was a showstopper with her 2-year-old granddaughter meandering down the runway in a white chiffon dress and lots of pink bracelets. The culmination was a walk by Pink Aid’s Pink Purse benefactor and recent breast cancer survivor, Cindy Citrone with her friend and fellow Pink Purse founder Kim Meier and Heidi Taylor, who was met with a giant Pink Purse cake to mark her birthday that very same day. Lastly, this year’s Chairpersons Extraordinaire, Westport’s Shelly Kassen and Redding’s Suzanne Kramer took a moving and well-deserved victory walk with speaker, Jennifer Griffin.

As always the event was a feast for all of the senses and no place was that more obvious than in the incredible foods, desserts and beverages provided by Marcia Selden Catering.

Photography by Neil Landino Jr., courtesy of Connecticut Cottages and Gardens