They couldn’t be more dissimilar—Chandra Wilson, the award-winning Grey’s Anatomy star, and reality star Brandi Glanville from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. But the two very different ladies received well-deserved “Women of Achievement” awards at the annual Mother’s Day Luncheon presented by the Associates for Breast and Prostate Cancer Studies.
The organization is affectionately known as the ABCs, and benefits breast and prostate cancer research at John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center. Making sure the afternoon at the Four Seasons Hotel was full of laughs was comedian, author, and actress Lisa Ann Walter (Shall We Dance, The Parent Trap) who emceed the affair.
Walter went into a hysterical diatribe about what she does for her teenage boys. “Chauffeuring, cooking, nurturing, shopping, medical attention, laundry, class projects, scheduling, referee, etc., that’s what I do,” Lisa described with great humor. “But their dad, my ex, got them an iPhone. So guess who’s the hero?”
Walter’s participation at the ABCs luncheon is personal. She said, “My mother is a survivor of breast cancer and I have friends in their 30s and 40s who have been affected. That’s why the efforts of the people here today are more important than ever before.”
“Cancer has touched all of our lives,” acknowledged event co-chairs Beverly Cohen and Sheri Rosenblum, who thanked the ABCs supporters. “We need to work together to fund research for better and safer treatments and ultimately a cure. That is the goal of the ABCs.”
Since their founding, the ABCs have raised over $14 million for the John Wayne Cancer Institute. Patrick Wayne, chairman of the board of directors of the JWCI and son of the late John Wayne, gave a special shout-out to Gloria Gebbia, president of the ABCs. Gebbia introduced noted Beverly Hills jeweler Peter Marco who spoke movingly about his fight with cancer. He warned, “Breast cancer affects men too.”
President of The John Wayne Cancer Institute Auxiliary, the Duke’s granddaughter Anita Swift was also on hand, along with other notables including Rosa Blasi (Strong Medicine) Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, Gloria Allred, Anika Noni Rose, Nicole Murphy, Adrienne Janic, Beverly Cohen, Dr. Anton Bilchik, Dr. Maggie DiNome, and former LA Clipper Jerome “Pooh” Richardson.
Actress Nicole Rubio (Training Day) presented the “Women of Achievement Award” to her fellow Grey’s Anatomy co-star Chandra Wilson. “Chandra is an award-winning actress, writer and has directed 12 episodes of Grey’s. Best of all, she is a great mother of three. She does it all,” Nicole praised in her introduction.
Chandra said, “I’m usually modest about myself, but I am proud to be here, because all of the folks on my maternal grandmother’s side of the family had some form of cancer. I know my family’s history.” On top of that Chandra’s daughter has the recurring condition Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, which put her in the hospital again, “so I was picking her up this morning. That’s my day, and I am grateful for everything I have now because you never know what’s going to happen. So today I thank you for this honor.”
Former model Brandi Glanville of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was presented her “Women of Achievement Award” by former RHOBH cast member Carlton Gebbia. A mother of two, author, and businesswoman (appearing on Celebrity Apprentice earlier this year), Brandi noted her “achievements” with humor, “but I must have done some things right to be receiving the award.”
The Gilda Awards
Another event honoring those who bravely fight cancer was the annual Gilda Awards, presented by the Cancer Support Community Benjamin Center. The CSC (formerly called The Wellness Community) event was hosted by LA’s big-hearted NBC4 weather wizard Fritz Coleman and held at the InterContinental Century City. Pat Kennedy chaired the inspiring evening, with Dr. Stephen Forman and Dr. Deane Wolcott as special presenters.
The celebration honored Tig Notaro, Grammy-nominated comedian, writer and breast cancer survivor. Notaro accepted her awards from her funny friend actress Sarah Silverman, who noted the Gilda Award honors “the spirit of another great comedian, Gilda Radner who courageously battled ovarian cancer.”
YAS Fitness Centers’ generous founder Kimberly Fowler and vice president Sherri Rosen got the “Wellness Award,” and Dr. Mitch Golant, a national psychosocial cancer research pioneer, was honored with the “Harold H. Benjamin Innovation Award.” Five years ago The Wellness Community and Gilda’s Club joined forces to become the Cancer Support Community which offers its support services for free. #