Last Thursday DKMS, an international nonprofit dedicated to eradicating blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma as well as other blood-related disease by connecting bone marrow and blood stem cell donors with patients giving them a second chance at life hosted a Blood Ball at Spring Place, Tribeca.
Over the years, the benefit has raised nearly $1 million with 100% of proceeds going towards the efforts of the organization. The theme this year’s event was “Black Magic” and attendees wore masquerade attire. The night had special performances from Broadway star, Norm Lewis as well as aerialists, tarot card readers, burlesque dancers.
Globally, DKMS has registered more than 7.6 million people. Event Chairs Katharina Harf and Elizabeth Manice were in attendance with additional celebrity guests model Carmen Carrera, Orange is the New Black actresses Amanda Stephen and Catherine Curtin, fashion designer Yigal Azrouël, actress Lily Lane, actress/former Miss Teen USA Kamie Crawford, model Vlada Roslyakova, actor Michael Maize, model Rain Dove and more.
Check out our exclusive coverage red carpet coverage with the event chairs themselves:
How did DKMS begin?
Katharina: My father Dr. Peter Harf, started DKMS in 1990 because we were looking for a donor for my mother. He basically dropped all of his work to find that one stranger for her and she lost her battle. He continued to work harder and harder. We are here today 26 years later. It inspires us all to believe that no patient goes without finding a donor.
Besides the US where else is DKMS located?
Katharina: We are in Germany, UK, Poland, Spain, India and Chile.
At the time your mother was diagnosed were there no donors?
Katharina: At the time in Germany there were a few thousand donors. Within the first year, we raised the number to 68,000. There were basically very few donors, in the US there were more but it was very hard to find a donor at that time.
How did you get involved in the organization?
Elizabeth: I’m a very old friend of Katarina’s. We met originally through friends and went to university at the same time. We’re both mothers. It’s just amazing what they’ve done. I’m thrilled to be here and it’s really extraordinary the lives they’ve touched. They’ve saved 67,000 lives in counting.
What made you to decide to have the benefit around Halloween?
Katharina: Well the whole Blood Ball is playing on the theme of Halloween and donating for blood cancer.
Photo Credit: Getty Images