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Alice Hoffman to headline author event for Mount Auburn Hospital cancer center

Posted by Your Town  October 4, 2013 09:22 PM

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On Monday, October 7, the American Repertory Theater will host Mount Auburn Hospital’s Final and Most Fabulous Evening with Your Favorite Authors, featuring renowned author Alice Hoffman.

After 15 years of author readings and stories, this final event will offer participants a chance to hear from and meet authors as they share readings and anecdotes to spread breast health awareness.

Alongside Alice Hoffman will be best-selling authors Jodi Picoult, Gregory Maguire, Ann Hood, Ann Leary, Elinor Lipman, and Lee Woodruff. All proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the hospital’s Hoffman Breast Center.

Alice Hoffman, who has been the driving force behind the author series, said the event is a great way to bring people together for a good cause. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer, she said, and the event has become a way for people to unify and raise awareness.

“Everyone has a mother sister or friend who has experienced this. In some instances we’ve had people speak who have had breast cancer,” Hoffman said. “I think it’s something people respond to because it’s so universal.”

Hoffman will be reading from her new book, Survival Lessons. In the book, she talks about her work with Mount Auburn Hospital through the years, as well as her own personal battle with breast cancer. This is the first time she will be speaking about her experience as a survivor at an author event, and she feels this event provides a great atmosphere to talk about this time in her life.

“Really, it’s kind of like the book I wish I’d had and that someone would have given me when I was first diagnosed,” Hoffman said. “It’s about still looking for beauty in the world even during very dark times. It’s like talking to a friend, and that’s what I wanted it to feel like.”

After being diagnosed, Hoffman was treated for breast cancer at Mount Auburn Hospital. Fifteen years ago she began author readings to raise money for the breast center that would eventually be named after her family. Now, over $2 million have been raised and put directly into supporting women’s health at the facility.

Michael O’Connell, the vice president of planning and marketing at Mount Auburn Hospital, said the money raised from the author readings has greatly improved the services the hospital is able to offer. He said the funds enabled the center to provide digital mammography and breast MRIs, as well as to improve the overall experience for women affected by breast cancer.

“We renovated the area and made it a more welcoming environment with nice bathrooms and warm colors . . . It’s one-stop-shopping in an area where you’re taken care of both clinically and emotionally,” O’Connell said.

Kelly McDade, Mount Auburn’s director of marketing, said this event has been so successful over the years due to Hoffman’s passion and dedication. She said that even though this will be the last event of its kind, Hoffman has left a legacy with the work that she has done.

“Alice has been the driving force behind this event. It has been quite the 15 years or so that this has happened,” McDade said. “She’s done a fantastic job of putting her arms around people and getting them to help with this fundraiser.”

Hoffman said that much of the success of this event has been due to the generosity of authors to donate their time for an evening. Hoffman said this enables 100 percent of the proceeds to go directly towards supporting women’s health and improving the breast center for everyone in the community.

“People have been incredibly generous,” Hoffman said. “Now there’s this terrific breast center where people are getting great care and no one gets turned away. It’s been an amazing journey.”

Hoffman encourages people to attend the event since it will be the last of its kind. While the center will continue to raise funds through different avenues, she said it’s important to realize that this is the last time that these authors will gather to talk about breast cancer in such an intimate setting. She encourages people to take the opportunity to support a great cause while hearing about the hope and victory of survival.

“People think it’s going to be sad, but it’s the opposite,” Hoffman said. “It’s an event filled with hope, food, wine, and great writers. I find it very uplifting.”

The Final and Most Fabulous Evening with Your Favorite Authors will take place on Monday, October 7 at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge. Cocktail hour will begin at 6 p.m. and the program will begin at 7 p.m. Popular best-selling authors Alice Hoffman, Jodi Picoult, Gregory Maguire, Ann Hood, Ann Leary, Elinor Lipman, and Lee Woodruff will be available for autograph signing during the cocktail hour. Tickets are $250 ($210 of which is tax deductible) and are available online.

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