Society / The Seen

Best Selling Author Shares Her Breast Cancer Fight With a Rapt River Oaks Crowd

Elin Hilderbrand Faced a Double Mastectomy

BY // 09.17.21
photography Daniel Ortiz

It is a rare — and welcome — charity event when a room full of diners is held to such rapt attention by the guest speaker that no one dare chatter. So it was at River Oaks Country Club when best selling author Elin Hilderbrand shared her personal story of receiving a startling breast cancer diagnosis only shortly before publication of her 10th book, The Matchmaker, in which the main character has cancer.

Perhaps the good behavior was because the American Cancer Society was beneficiary and perhaps because three of the honorees were cancer survivors. Still, most powerful in commanding attention was Hilderbrand’s compelling recounting of learning that she had four tumors in her right breast and one in her left was facing a double mastectomy with possible chemo and radiation. News she had to break to her then-husband and their three young children.

The bottom line of her delivery was the importance of overcoming life’s challenges as she stood before the 350 guests as a symbol of strength and success.

Her brave mantra: “I would take the cancer again –and why? Because it is only in facing that which threatens your very being that you learn what it means to be alive.”

Among those with special appreciation of her presentation were honorees/survivors Cora Sue Mach, Elizabeth Stein and Adele Hartland as well as honorees Kelli Cohen Fein and Kristina Somerville.

This inaugural “Tickled Pink” luncheon was chaired by Leisa Holland-Nelson, Patti Murphy, Karen DeGeurin Remington and Barbara Van Postman. The $180,000 proceeds from the fundraiser supplements the $69 million that the American Cancer Society is currently investing in breast cancer-specific research through 162 grants.

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PC Seen: Hannah and Cal McNair, Joanna and Brad Marks, Sidney Faust, Mary Ann McKeithan, Joella Mach, Shelby Kibodeaux and Bruce Padilla, Elizabeth Stein, Abby and Chris Venegas, and media personality and breast cancer survivor Lyndsay Levingston.

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