Cancer Link’s Royal High Tea: A Grand Success

Sunday, March 7, produced the perfect South Florida afternoon for a tea party. Under cool, sunny skies, the members of Cancer Link “dressed to a tea” to host a series of small gatherings to benefit breast cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, a part of UHealth - the University of Miami Health System.

From left, Meredith Wolf, Ilyssa Ettelman, Jodi Kurzweil, Cheryl Ettelman, Laurie Nuell, and Amy Deutch.

Primarily an event-focused fundraising organization, Cancer Link, a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to finding a cure for breast cancer, was met with a challenge during the pandemic — how to raise funds in a socially distanced, safe way.

“Though COVID-19 changed our original plans, we were determined it would not dampen our spirits,” said Marlene Berg, who founded Cancer Link more than 30 years ago to increase awareness of breast cancer and raise funds for research. “Cancer Link has always offered a festive way to raise funds for a meaningful cause. Every event produced by our organization reminds us that we are saving lives, as well as celebrating them.”

From left, Ana Marie Hernandez, Annie Hernandez, and Norma Jean Abraham.

Indeed, the celebratory spirit at the Cancer Link Royal Fascinating Par-Tea was undeniable. Co-presidents, Diane Madden and Mary Rosenberg, and High Tea co-chairs, Norma Jean Abraham and Acelia Berg, came up with creative ideas, from the themed invitation to extravagant decorations and catered tea boxes. Teas were hosted outdoors at individual homes with a limited number of guests allowed, and masked, of course.

Funds raised support breast cancer research

From left, Arlene Peterson with Cleo Baudy.

Guests enjoyed a pre-recorded message from Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the three researchers who have benefited from funds raised by Cancer Link — Susan Kesmodel, M.D., Lluis Morey, Ph.D., and Sophia George, Ph.D.

Guests at the event, which was sponsored by the Anthony R. Abraham Foundation and Cano Health, were given the “royal” treatment with savory delights and sweet treats. Women donned extravagant pink fascinator hats, and men sported University of Miami baseball caps.

From left, Cheryl Ettelman with Minda Hamersmith.

“The invitation was beyond regal, royal, and whimsical; the choice of menu items was presented with creativity; and the entire tea lunch was so well orchestrated and delicious,” said guest Jolie Cummings.

As everybody raised their pinkies to sip their cups of tea, the event pushed Cancer Link’s creative and tireless fundraising efforts to more than $139,000 this fiscal year alone — truly an unforgettable day for everyone in attendance.

Save the Date: Cancer Link’s next remote event — a speakeasy-themed cocktail party — will be held on Saturday, October 16.