All for a good cause

Last night I had the pleasure to be part of a special fundraising event for the Norma F. Pfriem Breast Care Center Institute at Bridgeport Hospital–a member of the prestigious National Consortium of Breast Care Centers. This magical event was called Romancing Mother Nature. From the start, this event was MAR-ed – of course in a good way, as 12 of my signature “casual luxury” projects were prominently scatted throughout the venue as the basis for a fun scavenger hunt.

Truth be told, with the event called Romancing “Mother Nature” how could she be tempted to give us bad weather? The evening was perfect, allowing the event to capture the essence of a spectacular night with the beauty of a clear sky, perfect temperature, and gracious hosts.

Two of my fabulous cocktail recipes from my book, Life On Mar’s, A Four Season Garden, were available to enjoy first hand. And since we were enjoying cocktails, why not take this time to introduce my new Vermont White Vodka MAR-berri drink, served on the rocks, with frozen cranberries as ice cubes.

A charming old estate in the historical Greenfield Hill area of Connecticut served as the backdrop, and it easily takes your breath away from the moment you arrive. The number of guests meant that parking close to the house was not possible, so a collection of Land Rover SUVs shuttled attendees directly from their cars to the regal home. Trays of bite-size hors d’oeuvres awaited guests, and three bars were situated around the backyard, anchored by an extra large swimming pool that was simply to die for. The pool house alone could be a second home, but served as a casual place to discover new people and get away to freshen up. From there one could easily embrace the views of the grand lawn and perennial gardens and near-by tennis court. Up for a match, anyone? (I always play better after a MARtini!)

Many people came together to make the night happen, from individuals – like our hosts for the evening and the charity directors – to corporate sponsors. On this special night, I played an additional role beyond inspiring the décor and being the featured guest: I donated 100% of the proceeds from the sale of my book directly to the charity; I answered gardening questions, stood for photos and said a few words to the group. In all, I was honored and proud that I could be part of such a selfless philanthropic organization that helps so many women.

This is a mission that was easy to embrace and which is now dear to my heart. On a personal note, when I was a young, boyish Mar, my mother was diagnosed with bone cancer, she suffered for years and ultimately lost her leg to cancer. It changed my life along with her. I remember that the “c-word” was all that was whispered – as though saying the whole word “cancer” was just too dreadful. This one word has struck several family members, those I love and those I admired. This history gives me a strength that feeds my will to acknowledge two things: First, I recognize that I am blessed, and I have a duty to do something good with that gift. And second, that today the “c-word” is spoken loudly, which is allowing a new “c” word to resonate even louder and with a team spirit: Cure! I proudly join that cheerleading team and I’ll even make my own pom-poms – I don’t think anyone will mind if they’re made from hydrangea flowers! Why? Because what matters is rolling up your sleeves and getting involved in any way you can. It doesn’t matter if you have an estate to give a party, a Range Rover to kindly offer rides or a bank to offer community support – all things that are invaluable – it’s about giving of yourself that matters. When it’s all for a good cause, every contribution counts.

For more information about the Norma F. Pfriem Cancer Institute, click here: