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INTERVIEW: Dr. Julie Ratner On The Ellen Hermanson Foundation's Ambitious 2017 Goals, "An Evening of Enchantment" And More

Nicole Barylski

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Dr. Julie Ratner is the co-founder and chairwoman of The Ellen Hermanson Foundation. (Photo: Victor Hugo/PMC)

This summer The Ellen Hermanson Foundation is introducing the East End community to a brand new summer soiree, An Evening of Enchantment, presented in partnership with The East Hampton Chamber of Commerce. Taking place at Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton on Thursday, August 10 from 6:30 to 10 p.m., the exciting new fundraiser will feature cuisine by Jean-Georges, music by DJ Sam Santiago, entertainment from America's foremost mentalist, The Amazing Kreskin, and more.

We recently caught up with Dr. Julie Ratner, co-founder and chairwoman of The Ellen Hermanson Foundation, about An Evening of Enchantment, the Foundation's ambitious 2017 goals, and more.

"I'm very excited about this event. It's a little bit different for us to do this event not under a tent with a million moving parts. I think this is going to be a very elegant event and beautiful," Ratner told Hamptons.com. "We certainly know the food will be spectacular and we always say the company is great because I love all the people who come to our Foundation events. I remember The Amazing Kreskin from years ago when he was on Johnny Carson and he's amazing! I thought how does he do that? I think that will be a lot of fun for everyone."

So this will be the first time the Foundation hosts An Evening of Enchantment?

JR: Yes, it is.

Why did you decide to switch things up this year?

JR: I think it's really good to change this up and to not get into a rut, and to do the same type of events year in and year out - I'm going to take the Run out of this because the Run is different and if anyone's a runner, you show up for the love of running, as well as the cause - but, to do the same type of party every year, under a tent with the same format, it's the same. It sort of becomes the same old, same old. And we always try to think of different themes and ideas and entertainment, and this just kind of fell into our lap and we liked it so much we said we'd try it.

Do you have any projects earmarked to support with funds raised at An Evening of Enchantment?

JR: Yes, I definitely know what we want to support and I hope we make pots and pots of money because we have very ambitious fundraising plans for 2017. The Ellen Hermanson Foundation is not a fundraising arm of Southampton Hospital, that said, because of our interest, obviously because of my sister Ellen and my interest in breast cancer and the Foundation's interest in making sure that women on the East End have access to affordable state of the art care and that they're not denied care for lack of insurance, Southampton Hospital is a logical partner for us and we've had I think a really strong, collaborative relationship, which can be a model for other organizations for working together. We work very closely with the Hospital. I'm very interested and concerned and care very deeply that the Breast Center always be state of the art, always be currently with its technology and equipment because if it's not, we'll loose patients. Even more importantly, the Breast Center won't be able to serve patients with the best quality of care. We have great doctors, the doctors are the best, but you still need good equipment to back up brilliant minds. I know that the Breast Center is going to be needing a new stereotactic breast biopsy table and that is what it says it is. The table is for doing breast biopsies with imaging and they're very sophisticated. When they first told me they needed a biopsy table, I thought oh it's a table, how much could it be? They're over $250,000, so it's some table!

And then we fund Ellen's Well every year, which is our project that provides psychosocial support, reiki, nutrition, a day of hope and renewal, a week of hope and renewal. We do all of these programs, and that's very expensive. And then I've had the privilege of being at the groundbreaking of the Phyllis Family Cancer Center and I know that one part of the Cancer Center will be a room of infusion chairs where people will go for their chemotherapy and the infusion chairs are $10,000 each, so I would like my Foundation to pledge to underwrite ten of the chairs. So as you can see, we need to raise a lot of money this year and we'll do the best we can and come as close as we can. We have this event at Topping Rose, we have Ellen's Run, we'll try to plan some more smaller events throughout the year. In October we have this idea to do Murder Mystery Theater, but it's not quite formed yet.

How did the partnership with the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce and Topping Rose House happen?

JR: The Chamber contacted us because they wanted to do a fundraising event and they wanted it to benefit a local charity. At first it was going to be at a different place and it didn't work it. I have this wonderful new Development Director, her name is Anne Gomberg, and she said, "You know what? We'll find a place." And Topping Rose came on board. They were excited, they were enthusiastic, they were gracious, they worked with us so it would be affordable for us to do this there and it's been really lovely.

What can attendees expect?

JR: If it's a beautiful day like today, there will be cocktails and hors d'oeuvres outside. A wonderful meal inside - we're using their annex and we have the barn. They'll be the show by The Amazing Kreskin. We have a DJ and there will be dancing, we have a live auction - we have golf, tickets to the theater, we have some really wonderful auction items. In addition to that, we're going to auction off some services. For people who don't necessarily want to buy a round of golf, they might be very happy to underwrite a mammogram, or sonogram, or MRI - so we're going to auction off different services that are provided at The Ellen Hermanson Breast Center. What happens by auctioning off these services, for women that don't have insurance, these services that are paid for through the auction will be used for these women who don't have insurance.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

JR: August is a very busy month for us, with the Run and event at Topping Rose. We have a brand new website, which I think is very lovely. It's easy to use; it's very inviting and engaging. So, I invite everyone to go to our website, sign up for the Run, buy a ticket to Topping Rose and come and get to know us. I think you'll be very happy you did.

Jean Shafiroff and Dr. Julie Ratner are chairing An Evening of Enchantment, while Nicholas Dawes of Heritage Auctions and the popular PBS series, Antiques Roadshow, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.

For tickets, or more information, visit www.ellenhermanson.org.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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Guest (Barbara Feldman) from East Hampton says::
While I understand the need to raise money for the hospital, I am confused. I was a founding member of the Symposium on Healthcare Design out of California in 1986 and designed healthcare and hospitals for 30 years, including more than 25 facilities for Oncology/Infusion and Dialysis. Since I have not been invited to provide services for Southampton Hospital even once in the last 20 years, I am curious as to where these costs are coming from, particularly the infusion chairs.
Aug 7, 2017 11:41 am


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