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This Old Bag: The Power of the Purse

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

This Old Bag: The Power of the Purse 

Friday, October 25

Iconic Fundraiser for Breast Cancer Emergency Fund Marks 15th Anniversary
at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel

Liam Mayclem / KCBS’ Radio “Foodie Chap” Featured Emcee / Guest Auctioneer 

12 June 2019 – San Francisco, CA:For 15 years, the San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Emergency Fund has understood “the power of the purse.” Friday, October 25 at Francisco’s historic Fairmont Hotel the 15th Anniversary “This Old Bag: The Power of the Purse”  fundraiser will bring together 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.

“For the past 15 years This Old Bag has truly demonstrated the ‘power of the purse:’ people helping people through their time of financial and health crisis,” said Cynthia Hester, President of Breast Cancer Emergency Fund’s Board of Directors. “Every bag we sell – handbags, men’s bags, tech bags, travel bags, and more – provides a crucial safety net for our clients by keeping a roof over their head or keeping the lights on. BCEF has never had to turn a qualified client away for lack of funds, and we’ve never had a waiting list. THAT is the ‘power of the purse.’”

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 in Friday, October 25, please go online to