Last week the 33rd annual Alzheimer’s Association Rita Hayworth Gala was held at Cipriani 42nd Street where Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, founder and 2016 gala general chair, as well as a long-time advocate for raising funds to help find a cure for the disease, welcomed guests who included Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York; fashion designers Nicole Miller and Zang Toi, Sharon Bush, Margo and John Catsimatidis Diandra Douglas Liliana Cavendish, Hilary Dick, Somers and Jonathan Farkas, Anne and Jay McInerney, TV personality and style guru Robert Verdi, Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN Brendan Shanahan (Champion Award recipient), Bill Brand (Rita Hayworth Award recipient), Sarah Rafferty, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, talk show host Wendy Williams and Liliana Cavendish. The evening raised nearly $2 million for critical Alzheimer’s care, support and research programs. The disease afflicts more than 5 million Americans and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Sarah Rafferty, actress and star of the USA Network legal drama Suits, emceed the event and shared her experiences with her grandmother’s battle with Alzheimer’s. The evening included remarks from Aga Khan (daughter of Rita Hayworth),who announced that with the funds raised at this year’s Rita Hayworth Gala, along with the New York City, Chicago and Palm Beach events, crossed the $70 million mark for to support the Alzheimer’s Association. Aga Khan praised Karyn Kornfeld for her energy and passion as this year’s gala chair before introducing her. Kornfeld shared the story of her “powerhouse” grandmother who died of Alzheimer’s and how her grief quickly turned to guilt, motivating her to take action against the disease by getting involved with the Alzheimer’s Association.
President of HSN and chief marketing officer at HSNi., Bill Brand, was presented with the Rita Hayworth Award and hockey legend and president of the Toronto Maple Leafs Brendan Shanahan was honored with the Champion Award. Brand and Shanahan were cited for their commitment to fighting Alzheimer’s and their many efforts to raise awareness of the disease. Brand was introduced by long-time supporter and friend of the Alzheimer’s Association, Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN. Grossman spoke about Brand ’s commitment to helping fight the disease and for charity through HSNi Cares. In his remarks Brand shared that HSN has just surpassed the $1 million mark in funds raised for the Alzheimer’s Association during their five-year partnership with the organization.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman introduced Shanahan before a video tribute to the hockey legend was shown, which chronicled Shanahan’s life and close relationship with his father, Donal Shanahan, whom he lost to Alzheimer’s while in the early stages of his hockey career. The video included footage from Shanahan’s 2013 Hockey Hall of Fame speech, which was dedicated to his father. Shanahan recalled his father’s battle with Alzheimer’s and spoke about how there must be a greater conversation about the disease. Shanahan recognized the sports community for their support of the cause and presence that evening, including the NHL, NBA and NFL.
Hugh Hildesley, the Vice Chairman of Sotheby’s, hosted the evening’s live auction which included a custom Domingo Zapata painting as well as a suit from UK bespoke tailor Huntsman. The suit, which features a lining with the design from Ed Ruscha’s 1987 painting ‘Boy Meets Girl,” is one of six created in the collaboration and was the only one available for purchase, generating a top bid of $26,000.
For more information about the Alzheimer’s Association go to: alz.org