Saks Fifth Avenue’s Key to the Cure Benefitting CancerForward

Philanthropy is Always in Fashion

Catherine D. Anspon. Photography Jenny Antill, Priscilla Dickson.  |  Photos by Jenny Antill, Priscilla Dickson
December 05, 2013
Event Date:
October 16, 2013

A-Shopping We Go for a Very Good Cause
Among the punctuation points of the fall calendar, one evening we never miss is Saks Fifth Avenue’s Key to the Cure Kickoff, the cocktail + shopping + reveling extravaganza that takes over multi-floors of Saks’ Galleria flagship. But there’s more to this night than libations, retail therapy and a good time. A percentage of those ringing registers benefits a nonprofit in the cancer crusade. Over the past 15 years, millions have been raised. But this season’s charity beneficiary set the bar for turnout, with a high-voltage crowd of 500 buying tickets: For the fourth year in a row, CancerForward, a foundation whose website supports survivors, received funds from the kickoff and the entire Key to the Cure Weekend.

Caddy Wheels & Accolades
Presiding were Saks VP and GM Bobby Dees and CancerForward founder/board chair Beth Sanders Moore, joined by four young professional power couples: Sydney Ealand and fiancé Robert Eifler, Kristin and Jason Kaminsky, Brittany Sakowitz Kushner and Kevin Kushner, and PaperCity’s Kate Stukenberg and husband Will. For the first time in KTTC history, they tapped 100 young professional pals, who gave the scene a new-millennial vibe. Clever touches included the Pop-Up Cadillac Lounge (Cadillac and Sewell Automobile Companies partnered with Saks as presenting sponsors), where the hostesses passed out gift certificates that prompted new Caddy sales all weekend. Memorable beer-infused ‘ritas were the house cocktail, while a new partnership with Square (the mini plug-in credit reader for your smart phone, which pumped donations into the nonprofit) saw the crowd swiping plastic at stations throughout the store, all in name of the cause. Also generating excitement was this year’s KTTC tee, designed by Emilio Pucci’s Peter Dundas for Saks, with ambassador Jennifer Aniston; the pop-ish T-shirts flew off the shelves, with all tee proceeds from the Houston shopping party going directly to the coffers of CancerForward — not just that night, but throughout October. After clinking cocktails and shopping on Level One, guests adjourned to the Designer Salon on Level Two for a toast to 11 Forward Movers, the new crop of survivor honorees. As proof that cancer touches everyone, three of the survivors are this scribe’s friends, including the most personal honoree, PaperCity’s home design and social editor, Seth Vaughan, a survivor now of nearly a year. My colleague was movingly joined by 10 others on the stage, all accepting awards bestowed by Dees and Moore as Class of 2013 Forward Movers, representing survivorship of approaching 12 months to 39 years:
Alison Ayres Bell, Dr. Grace Butler, Jason Connelly, Terri Dome (also a heart-transplant survivor after chemotherapy damaged her heart when she was child), Marilu Garza, Sharon Graham, John Hrncir, Cynthia Cage McClain, Susan Pye, and Rebecca Trahan. In the throng of well-wishers: Saks’ Sylvia Forsythe and Tijuana Harvey; Stephanie Perkins; Donae Cangelosi Chramosta; honoree Vaughan’s family Lorey Sumers, Cobb Vaughan and Claire Wilkins; Susie Criner in dialogue with artist Jane Eifler, whose son Robert was one of the chairs; young adult survivor and UH baseball standout David Murphy, who is now the face of recently produced CancerForward PSAs; and MD Anderson’s patient affairs chief Alycia Hughes-McKissack.