IN THE PINK Party - Honoring Rita Wasserman on Saturday, March 30


Published by Cognac Wellerlane's Corner Magazine
April 3, 2019

TV Host Cognac Wellerlane interviews Honoree Rita Wasserman, Founder Julie Ratner and Band Leader Joe Lauro from The HooDoo Loungers

Supporters gathered  at  The  IN THE PINK Party - Honoring Rita Wasserman on Saturday, March 30 at 230 Elm in Southampton, NY presented by the Ellen Hermanson Foundation.

In May 2000, Rita Wasserman moved to beautiful Springs in East Hampton, NY and fell in love with the proximity to the ocean, the natural beauty of the area and the vibrant cultural events. Being a volunteer and giving back to community was always a very important part of her life. In 2002 she became involved with Guild Hall and Bay Street Theater. At Guild Hall, Rita has served as lead usher for more than ten years, and is responsible for scheduling volunteers and overseeing ushers to ensure that all runs smoothly. She greatly enjoys coordinating events including the annual Clothesline Art Sale and serving as cashier in the very busy gallery. At Bay Street Theater, Rita has been involved with numerous fundraising events where she enjoys greeting guests and selling raffles. In addition to volunteering with these cultural institutions, Rita is active with the Defend H2O organization, Coalition for Women's Cancers, Alzheimer's Disease Resource Center, Hamptons International Film Festival, and has been a member of the Springs Citizen Advisory Committee for many years. Her dedication to political activism could be seen in the various capacities she served for many years for the East Hampton Democratic Party: volunteering as a poll watcher, hosting meet-and-greets with candidates in her home, canvassing door-to-door, fielding calls at the phone bank, and more. Rita is a proud supporter of the East Hampton Library, Slow Food East End, Wellness Foundation based in Sag Harbor, and Neo-Political Cowgirls. After her diagnosis and fight with breast cancer which began in 2003, Rita became deeply involved with The Ellen Hermanson Foundation becoming a beacon of hope for others like her who are affected by cancer. Rita has been a member of The Jewish Center of the Hamptons since 2011 where she is an active member. When Rita's husband, Ted, of 50 years passed away suddenly in 2010, her life was turned upside down. She had to create a new life for herself which was very hard to do. She is grateful for her two wonderful children, son-in-law and her family, as well as her incredible support group of great friends with helping her through this very difficult time in her life.

"After my diagnosis with breast cancer in 2003 I was overwhelmed. I will never forget the love, care and support I received from Ellen’s Well and Ellen's Run. I made up my mind then to do anything and everything I could to forward the mission of The Ellen Hermanson Foundation, which did so much for me and continues to help and change people’s lives, offering the most state-of-the-art procedures. I am so proud of The Ellen Hermanson Breast Center that Ellen’s Run has created and expanded over the years. This honor means more to me than words can say... Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
- Rita Wasserman

The Ellen Hermanson Foundation was established in 1997 to honor the memory of Ellen Hermanson and carry on the important work to which she devoted so much of her time and energy. An activist and an advocate, Ellen channeled her journalistic talents to become a forceful voice for breast cancer patients and their families. She educated her readers about the importance of early detection, the challenges of living with breast cancer, the very real but little-discussed or understood issue of pain management, and the debilitating effects of breast cancer on the entire family.

The Ellen Hermanson Foundation is unique in its commitment to helping breast cancer patients and their families cope with the physical and emotional aspects of breast cancer. No patient is turned away from the Ellen Hermanson Breast Center for lack of insurance or inability to pay for treatment. All services though Ellen’s Well are provided free of charge.

Ellen Hermanson was an articulate, courageous and indomitable warrior in the war against breast cancer. Her personal battle with the disease began in February 1989, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer while still nursing her six-month-old daughter. Ellen fought against her disease medically by undergoing surgery and aggressive chemotherapy.

Ellen also fought against breast cancer by becoming an activist and advocate. A journalist by training, she used her prodigious talent as a writer to give voice to the needs of breast cancer survivors and to educate her readers about the importance of being well informed, the challenges of living with breast cancer, and the availability of resources to help with the myriad problems that arise as a result of breast cancer. Her remarkable accomplishments attest to her extraordinary inner strength and selfless generosity.

an active member of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), which advocates for survivors of all types of cancer. Later she served on its board and edited its quarterly newsletter, The Networker. When Ellen looked to her own heritage for spiritual support and sustenance, she found that what she sought did not exist. Instead of bemoaning this lack, Ellen became one of the founders of the Jewish Healing Center. She also served as the organization’s founding executive director and the first editor of its newsletter, The Outstretched Arm.

IN THE SPRING OF 1992, Ellen was appointed the first executive director of the Judges and Lawyers Breast Cancer Alert. Ellen coordinated and organized their annual October symposium, bringing together doctors and lawyers to tackle cutting-edge issues in health law and policy confronting cancer patients. In the fall of 1992, Ellen was diagnosed with a recurrence of her disease, this time in her bones. Ellen continued her work. Although she underwent chemotherapy, and would remain on chemo for the rest of her life, her condition worsened. Ellen’s many projects included editing the Annual Report of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for 1993. In November 1994, Ellen delivered an important speech entitled “One Patient’s Pain” at the NCCS annual conference. She was weak, barely able to walk, and facing hip replacement surgery that her doctors agreed to delay until after the conference. It was at this conference that Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spoke of her breast cancer.

Ellen lost her hard-fought battle with breast cancer on April 11, 1995, at the age of 42. She was working on an article exploring the then new and exciting potential of the Internet as a source of information and sharing for patients and their families. Ellen left a legacy of dignity, courage, determination, grace and love to all who knew her. To honor her memory, The Ellen Hermanson Foundation has been established to support and continue the important work she began.

Proceeds The In The Pink Dance Party will  benefit The Ellen Hermanson Breast Centers at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital and satellite locations in Hampton Bays and East Hampton and Ellen's Well, a free psychosocial support program.

For more information on how you can participate, support, donate and volunteer please visit

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Julie Ratner