As you might have seen in today’s paper, I covered the Rose of Hope event for Bridgeport’s Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center yesterday, at the Fairfield home of Tom and Patti Keegan. You can read in today’s article all about the event, attended by about 600 people, and the speech given at the event by actress Katie Holmes, but here are some more of my thoughts on this celebrated event.
Rain, rain go away: So yeah, this event was outside, in a tent. Here was the view from my seat:
I don’t know if it comes through in my picture, but it was pouring rain outside and it was streaking down the sides of the tent. With all the noise it made, and the fact that speakers kept referencing it throughout the luncheon, the weather was practically another guest at the event. Not only did Holmes reference that she had worn tennis shoes in prep for the nasty weather, event hostess Patti Keegan opened her speech by immediately referencing the soggy elephant in the room.
“Tom and I are sorry about the weather,” she said, adding that, in the many years she’s hosted the event, this was the first where the weather didn’t cooperate. “I guess nine out of 10 isn’t bad,” she said.
Event co-chair Linda Blackwell even told a sweet story about how Tom Keegan pumped up the event committee before the luncheon by telling them that the rain was actually a good thing, because it would help everyone who came to the event bond. Blackwell said she felt the same way. “We feel like we have 600 new family members,” she said.
So why no pictures of Katie?: Right about now, you must be thinking — “Hey Amanda, if you had an iPhone with you and were able to take pictures, how come you didn’t take any pictures of Katie?” That is a good question, readers. Because of the tabloid-ability of this year’s speaker, security was crazy tight at Rose of Hope. I was one of the few media allowed to come, and I wasn’t permitted to bring one of our photographers with me. Guests weren’t permitted to snap any photos during Katie’s speech and, to make sure we behaved, somewhat menacing guys in suits lurked behind many tables keeping a sharp eye on everyone (note: The guys were probably very nice and were just doing their job. I’m just bitter about getting the stinkeye whenever I reached in my purse). Bridgeport Hospital’s photographer did provide us with some nice shots, however.
And, in case you thought they were being paranoid, I will tell you I got an email from a People magazine reporter Thursday evening asking me if I wanted to talk about my experience at the lunch. Sorry ma’am — my thoughts are for our readers.
Parting gift: All those who attended the luncheon received a rose quartz bracelet — yes, pink, in honor of breast cancer awareness — donated by Rob and Cindy Citrone. Cindy Citrone was special program chair for the event, and the bracelet had a special story behind it.
Citrone had heard a woman named Meredith speak at an event about her life as breast cancer survivor, and was so moved, she gave Meredith a bracelet to thank her for sharing her story. The two became friends. Years later, Cindy bought Meredith another bracelet — at a breast cancer fundraiser. The day she went to pick up the bracelet, Cindy learned that Meredith had died. The bracelet given at the Rose of Hope event, designed by jewelery designer Faye Kim, is a symbol of Meredith’s battle and the struggles of all women with cancer. Here’s a picture of it.