An Unforgettable Evening


Women’s Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) supports innovative research education and outreach directed at the development of more effective approaches to the early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of women’s cancers. Our efforts to find a cure are passionate and boundless.

WCRF was started as a way to give back in honor of mothers, sisters, and friends. All of the founders have been impacted by cancer, either having supported a friend or family member as they underwent treatment, or having dealt with their own diagnosis and recovery. In 1997, Renette Ezralow and co-founder Marion Laurie toured the MD Anderson Cancer Center with Dr. Lawrence Platt, and began plans to form an organization that would support cancer research initiatives. When Renette passed away from ovarian cancer, her daughter-in-law and co-founder Quinn Ezralow felt a strong passion to continue her fight, and brought in her friends and connections to help raise funds to find a cure. Co-founder Jamie Tisch remembers “When we first started, we decided to have a party and raise money. We didn’t realize the response would be so positive from people who wanted to give. After a few parties, we became known as the hot ticket, and had an opportunity to raise more and more.”

From these grassroots origins grew WCRF’s flagship fundraising event, “An Unforgettable Evening”. Founding supporter Natalie Cole, who passed away in 2015, would sing “Unforgettable” each year, and other major musical acts, from Beyoncé to Taylor Swift to Rihanna, have performed incredible sets at the event. The event also gives honorees a chance to share heartfelt acceptance speeches in memory of the loved ones they have lost to cancer, including Courtney Cox, who spoke of her friend Mary, Gwyneth Paltrow on her beloved father, and Martin Short, who shared remembrances of his wife of 30 years, Nancy Dolman; WCRF and the Keck School of Medicine at USC went on to create the Nancy Short Lecture series in her honor. The annual event brings together an incredible array of supporters and has helped raise millions for cancer research.

In addition, WCRF has had a strong partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue from the beginning, which led to the “Key To The Cure” t-shirt collaboration, sold online and in-stores. This project brings together major designers to produce a t-shirt worn by celebrities in an ad campaign that raises both funds and awareness for WCRF’s research initiatives. Past collaborations include designs by Jason Wu (worn by Julianne Moore), Carolina Herrera (worn by Penelope Cruz), Michael Kors (worn by Heidi Klum), and Diane von Furstenberg (worn by Hilary Swank), among many others.

Through these efforts, WCRF has raised more than $70 million for research funding over the years, including their signature Biomarker Discovery Project. As co-founder Kelly Chapman Meyer recalls, “…we had the opportunity to fund the “bio-marker” project with a dream team of lead investigators from across the country. Researchers felt that we would have more success if we started with breast cancer due to sample collection; the bio marker research would then be applied theoretically to all cancers.”

WCRF has helped to bring about one of the most exciting and ambitious scientific projects today. The Biomarker Discovery Project is led by world-class scientists whose goal is to find a blood test that will diagnose breast and other women’s cancers in the earliest stages – when they can be cured. 

For their work on the Biomarker Discovery Project, WCRF’s founders were honored with Glamour’s Women of the Year Award in 2004.


The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) is dedicated to being the end of breast cancer by advancing the world's most promising research. Founded by Evelyn H. Lauder in 1993, BCRF-funded investigators have been deeply involved in every major breakthrough in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. This year, BCRF will award $59.5 million to support the work of more than 275 scientists at leading medical and academic institutions across 15 countries, making BCRF the largest private funder of breast cancer research worldwide. BCRF is the highest rated breast cancer organization in the U.S.-the only one with an "A+" from CharityWatch and Charity Navigator’s highest rating of four stars. Visit www.bcrf.org for more information.