Stars Come Out To Support Children's House
and To Honor Audrey Hepburn
Press Release, June 11, 1999
More than 500 luminaries from the worlds of movies, fashion, medicine, and business gathered at historic Cipriani Wall Street in New York City's financial district recently to honor Audrey Hepburn on what would have been the legendary actress' 70th birthday. Hosted by the family of Salavatore Ferragamo, the famed designer of Ms. Hepburn's shoes, the event was a benefit for the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund. The Fund was created by Ms. Hepburn's son Sean Ferrer to continue the special work she had done for children throughout her life.
Supporters raised more than $250,000, with monies going directly to the creation of an expanded Children's House at Hackensack University Medical Center. This unique program helps children who have been abused or neglected. The new center, which is aiming for a groundbreaking in the year 2000 will be named the Audrey Hepburn Children's House.
"To be associated with the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund is truly an honor," said John P. Ferguson of Ridgewood, president and chief executive officer of Hackensack University Medical Center. "This evening and our ongoing relationship with the fund will bring our dream of an expanded Audrey Hepburn Children's House to reality."
Mr. Ferguson honored Assembly woman Rose Heck of Hasbrouck Heights, who also attended the event, for her commitment to the center and her work on the behalf of abused children. Three years ago Governor Christine Todd Whitman signed legislation designating Hackensack University Medical Center's Children's House as one of four centers for the treatment of child abuse in New Jersey. Last year she selected The Children's House as the site to sign a bill continuing financial support for the four centers. The plans for the expanded house will add desperately needed space and provide respite care for children who may not be able to be placed in foster homes immediately.
"My mother felt deeply that when a child is robbed of his or her childhood it is the greatest crime that can be committed," said Mr. Ferrer. "Thank you, John Ferguson and everyone at Hackensack University Medical Center for making us your partner in this crusade against child abuse."
The centerpiece of the evening was an auction by Sotheby's of ten replicas of the shoe lasts made for Ms. Hepburn by Ferragamo that were reimagined by world-renowned artists as tributes to her many classic films. From "Sabrina" to "Breakfast at Tiffany's," "My Fair Lady" to "Charade" each shoe design paid homage to a different film. The spirited bidding in itself raised thousands for the fund.
More importantly the evening reinforced the strong relationship between the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund and Hackensack University Medical Center.
"Hackensack University Medical Center's reputation for the care of children - especially abused children - proceeds it," said Linda Finnegan, executive director of the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund. "We strongly believe the Audrey Hepburn Children's House will serve as a model for other hospitals throughout the country." Besides adding respite care and added footage, the new house will also feature additional clinic areas and a protected outdoor play area.
Marvin Gottlieb, M.D. of Wyckoff, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Hackensack University Medical Center said: "We have always realized that our role goes beyond just treating the child in the safest and most comforting of environments. We want to expand our influence into the community, provide more education, and finally give a voice to the thousands of silent children who are the victims of abuse. The new Audrey Hepburn Children's House is poised to make that difference."
To find out how you can help support the Audrey Hepburn Children's House at Hackensack University Medical Center call the medical center's Foundation at (201) 996-3720.