An English garden party was the setting on the Great Lawn at The Ritz-Carlton for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society’s first annual Breakfast at Tiffany’s event. Business Editor Lindsey Turnbull was there and reports.
The Cayman Islands Cancer Society’s Red Dress Affair, which drew crowds annually to enjoy conviviality and education while contributing to a worthy cause, was replaced in 2008 with a brand new and equally glitzy fundraising event for the Society: Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Attendees were encouraged to don elegant summer dresses and some went the whole hog, sporting Audrey Hepburn look-alike costumes, complete with rows of pearls and glamorous decadent hats to complete the picture.
Raising funds for a vital cause
The event was held in particular to raise funds for the Cancer Society’s latest and extremely important cause: the vaccination of young girls between the ages of 11 and 12 against the HPV virus which can cause cervical cancer in women. Ladies were therefore encouraged to attend this inaugural event with their daughters and mothers (as well as husbands) to ensure that the message was heard by all.
Christine Sanders, Director and Chief Operating Officer at the Cancer Society says the event raised around CI$20,000 which will provide vaccinations for over 60 girls on island between the ages of 11 and 12.
Dr Sook Yin, doctor and Director at the Cancer Society says, “We are currently getting the wheels in motion to partner with the Health Service Authority’s Public Health department to ensure that as many young girls as possible get the chance to be vaccinated against the virus that causes cervical cancer. We are currently working on ways to initiate the programme and look forward to rolling out this vital service in the near future.”
Braving the December morning heat, guests enjoyed a champagne breakfast on The Great Lawn while stunning cocktail and evening dresses from Silhouette boutique were modeled by a succession of glamorous women. One such model was Susan Periera, a breast cancer survivor herself.
Susan says, “I was very happy to be involved. The dresses were gorgeous and Javana Broad of Silhouette Ladies Fashion & Accessory’s is one of the most elegant and fashionable women I know. I was all too happy to model her clothing.
On a more personal note it was the most positive contribution I could make. Being a breast cancer survivor I know the devastation of such a diagnosis. It was important for me to be an example and to help women believe that there is life after devastation.”
Guests also enjoyed a succession of little ones modeling the latest fashions to be found at Little Darlings. Definitely one or two supermodels in the making there.
The keynote speaker
In keeping with the Cancer Society’s healthy lifestyle promotion, keynote speaking for the Breakfast at Tiffany’s event was Miami-based Dr Michael Ozner, author of the book, The Miami Mediterranean Diet, an absolute must-have if you are at all interested in enjoying a healthy diet. Dr Ozner was on hand at the event signing his books and selling them at a discounted price of just CI$20 and gave guests a glimpse into his theory for living a long and healthy life.
Dr Ozner said that in the US, he believes cardiologists undertake far too much intervention when it comes to heart disease, i.e. invasive procedures such as bypass surgeries, when they should really be practicing preventative measures to stop people developing heart disease, as well as a slew of other serious illnesses, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, diabetes and so on.
Dr Ozner says his epiphany with regard to how disease should be prevented rather than treated came when he read about a study on the dietary patterns of people living in the Mediterranean region.
He said, “I read that a middle-aged Greek man was 90 per cent less likely to have cardiovascular disease than a comparable man in the US. I realised that the ‘quick-fix’ attitude in the States just wasn’t working.”
The Miami Mediterranean Diet is basically sensible eating – a diet rich in whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, fish and olive oil. But the message does not stop there. Dr Ozner recommends a holistic approach to creating an entire healthy lifestyle. This includes undertaking at least 30 minutes of exercise a day and ensuring that everyone finds time to wind down each day, spending time with family and friends or pursuing a hobby or sport. The inability to properly deal with stress, he says, is a big contributor to disease.
Cancer prevention and The Mediterranean Diet
According to Dr Ozner, a pan-European study involving over 22,000 adults found that this model for healthy eating significantly reduced cancer mortality by 24 per cent after nearly two years. He points out that the study indicated that no single food component was strongly associated with reducing the risk of disease, suggesting that the interaction between all components of the diet was responsible for its success.
Dr Ozner says, “Scientists believe that replacing the Western diet with the Mediterranean diet could prevent the incidence of colorectal cancer by 25 per cent; breast cancer by 15 per cent and prostate, pancreatic and endometrial cancers by 10 per cent.”
In a further bid to raise funds for the HPV vaccination programme, organisers auctioned off a fabulous floor length black and white designer dress donated by Silhouette boutique, which raised CI$425. Artist John Broad was also in attendance, painting the scene with his usual colourful panache. The painting was then auctioned and raised CI$700. Jewellers Tiffany & Co was also in a giving mood at the event, auctioning a beautiful diamond pendant and offering to donate a percentage of all sales on the day directly to the Cancer Society.
Christine Sanders comments: “This was a new event for the Society, we have listened to the feedback from our guests on how we can make this a better event in the future and we will take this into consideration in our planning of the 2009 event. Overall we were pleased with the event and the turnout and enjoyed seeing everyone in their island elegant finery.”