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Shining a Spotlight on Our Genes, in Our Jeans (photos)


This Tuesday, the Basser Center for BRCA hosted the “Basser Jean Bash – Unzip Your Genes,” an inaugural New York City benefit which raised over $8 million for the Center and included a celebration with special performances by Freestyle Love Supreme and American Authors. Planning for the event took more than 18 months and was led by Center co-founder Mindy Gray, and her sister Shari Potter.

The denim-themed evening was attended by leadership and faculty from Penn, including Susan Domchek, MD, executive director of the Basser Center, as well many of New York’s leaders in finance, fashion and media, including “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts, who emceed the event. J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, presented Mindy and Jon Gray – both University of Pennsylvania alumni and founders of the Basser Center for BRCA – with a special gift in recognition of their commitment to furthering BRCA related research.

“The Basser, Gray, and Potter families have set such an inspiring example for the world to follow,” Jameson said.

In keeping with the evening’s “genes” theme, not only were guests asked to wear jeans, but many opted to sport a limited Basser jean created by designer jean maker and Basser Center partner rag & bone. The three-limited edition jeans feature the Basser Center’s logo and are being sold at select Bloomingdale’s and rag & bone retail stores and online. Seven percent of sales from the jeans benefit the Basser Center.

Established in 2012 in honor of Mindy’s sister, Faith Basser, who passed away at the age of 44 of BRCA-related ovarian cancer, the Basser Center for BRCA, is the world’s only comprehensive center focused solely on the prevention and treatment of cancers associated with inherited mutations of the BRCA genes. To date, the Grays have invested over $30 million to fund the mission of the center.

The event was also attended by Ralph W. Muller, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, and Chi V. Dang, MD, PhD, director of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

From start to finish, the evening was an incredible success, the enormity of which can only be suitably captured in photos showing off this festive, fun, and unconventional celebration. You can read more about the evening and see more photos in articles from Forbes and Bloomberg.

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