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July 24th Preview Party for Breast Cancer Emergency Fund Draws International Crowd

Media contact: David Perry & Associates, Inc. (415) 676-7007 / 

July 24th Preview Party for Breast Cancer Emergency Fund Draws International Crowd

Next Up: 15th Anniversary “This Old Bag: The Power of the Purse” Fundraising Gala at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel on October 25 

26 July 2019 – San Francisco, CA:   It was an international night for the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund “This Old Bag” reception at the Clift Hotel’s Redwood Room. On hand to preview classic and exquisite purses from Hermès and the closets of such celebs as Sharon Stone were several Consuls General and representatives of Consulates such as: Hungarian Consul General Eva Voisin & husband Paul; Peruvian Consul General Hernando Torres-Fernández and wife Adriana; Belgium Consul General Nathalia Delrue-McGuire, Noeleen Pattison from the Irish Consulate; Ana Blanco, Executive Director of the International Ocean Film Festival, and Alison Healy, Executive Director of Alliance for Smiles, getting ready for several global missions this year to restore the smiles of youth with cleft lips and palates. Donors of some of the most exquisite bags on display were popular as they made the rounds, including master leather artisan Beatrice Amblard of April in Paris, and Julian Lopez, who donated two vintage Hermès bags valued at a combined $17,500. 

In addition, top Breast Cancer Emergency Fund supporter Judith Branch was on-hand sporting her new Judith Leiber sparkling handbag along with “This Old Bag” mega sponsors Rose Coyle and Greg Boudreaux. Mike Smith, co-founder of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt and past Executive Director of the AIDS Emergency / Breast Cancer Emergency on-hand chatted up the legendary Donna Sachet (sporting a fire engine red dress and purse to match signed by Christina Aguilera from a previous “TOB”) and the uber generous Hilton Community Projects Manager, Jo Licata.

The Clift Hotel Party was  a preview “Friend Raiser” for the upcoming 15th Anniversary “This Old Bag: The Power of the Purse”  fundraiser taking place on Friday, October 25 at San Francisco’s historic Fairmont Hotel. Both events feature fashionistas, philanthropists and those for whom cancer is a personal and professional cause to raise funds – and awareness – in the fight against breast cancer. The now iconic event brings together men, women, fashion icons, celebrities from sports, politics and the entertainment industries all with one goal in mind: donate, display and sell fabulous handbags for a good cause: helping people with breast cancer. This year, in addition to a record number of new designs and international contributions, Liam Mayclem, award-winning “Foodie Chap” of KCBS / KCBS 5, will serve up British wit and continental charm as celebrity emcee and auctioneer.

“It was so good to be back at the Clift where 15 years ago we held our first ‘This Old Bag.’ The whole event left me filled with love, gratitude and pride,” said Cynthia Hester, President of Breast Cancer Emergency Fund’s Board of Directors. “I especially enjoyed seeing past and present donors, volunteers and staff. We are a community dedicated to supporting those in need. I left the event feeling inspired and with renewed commitment to the BCEF mission.”

Since its inception in 2005, This Old Bag has sold over 2,500 bags to help Bay Area women and men during their challenging diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer. The idea: fundraising for breast cancer need not be dull. In fact, it should be fun and life-affirming. Over the last 15 years, artists, artisans, celebrities, politicians, and local fashion mavens have all been inspired by the “power of the purse,” donating glamorous, unique and one-of-a-kind handbags for the benefit of the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund. A small sampling has included:

  • Limited-edition Dior handbag donated by Sharon Stone
  • Vintage Hermès Birkin bags donated by Ann Getty
  • Levi’s men’s messenger bag donated by Rev. Cecil Williams
  • Gianni Versace bag worn to the Academy Awards by Minnie Driver
  • Liberto Ferrero black leather bag donated by Robert Downey, Jr. 
  • Proenza Schuler bag donated by Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Those donated handbags have a huge impact. “The average monthly income of our clients is $825,” said Karen Edwards, BCEF’s Interim Executive Director, a number that sits in stark contrast to the soaring rents in the Bay Area. “Unfortunately, a diagnosis of breast cancer often means losing your job, your insurance, and your home. Breast Cancer Emergency Fund provides a safety net that no one else provides, paying essential bills like rent, utilities, and insurance premiums that make it possible to maintain a stable living situation during treatment.”

Breast Cancer Emergency Fund exists to fill that very need: providing immediate financial assistance to low-income people battling breast cancer when they are too sick to work. Since 2001, Breast Cancer Emergency Fund has served over 4,000 people in San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, providing over $3.6 million dollars in assistance to help our clients maintain financial stability during a devastating illness.

For more information about Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, and further to-be-announced details about the 15th Anniversary This Old Bag: The Power of the Purse at San Francisco’s storied Fairmont Hotel on Friday, October 25, please go online to