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Amy Pietz and Cheryl Ladd

"What a Pair!" Renée Zellweger Honored

Renée Zellweger and her publicist and close friend, Nanci Ryder (president of BWR Public Relations), were honored for their service on the Board and Honorary Board of Friends of the Breast Program at the “What a Pair 3: A Celebration of Duets to benefit the Breast Program at UCLA.” Event producer and Friends Board Member Jo Levi DiSante explains, “With the event in its third year, we feel it is important to honor a pair that have been true “friends” to each other and the organization. We are thrilled that Renée and Nanci have agreed to accept this award.”

Zellweger, back to her classic trim physique and blonde hair, donned her favorite designer, Carolina Herrera, to the fundraiser. While receiving her honor, she recalled how when she was promoting her film, Nurse Betty, in 2000, her dedicated publicist was battling breast cancer. Zellweger told the crowd, “I’ll never forget when we had an event to go to and Nanci’s wig wasn’t fitting right. [But,] she grabbed that thing and tossed it across the room and said, ‘Let’s go.’ Bald-headed and all. As crazy as it sounds, there was a lot of laughter. She was so brave and always had a joke.”

Ryder has since recovered from the cancer and still stands by Zellweger’s side. Besides being honored at the event, the two women, along with a large audience of philanthropists, enjoyed the entertainment of duets by female stars. Deborah Gibson, Taylor Dayne, Joely Fisher, Sally Kellerman, Lea Thompson and Jo Anne Worley all sang. Cheryl Ladd even did a sexy rendition of Marilyn Monroe in her cover of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.”

The event, which took place at UCLA’s beautiful Royce Hall, benefited Dr. Helena Chang’s breast cancer vaccine research at the Revlon/UCLA Breast Center. Friends of the Breast Program at UCLA was established in February 2000 in support of the UCLA center, which is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading location for breast cancer research and treatment. With its High Risk, Diagnostic, Multidisciplinary and Follow-Up Programs, the Breast Center serves as a model for others and attracts patients from all over. The research program resolutely accepts the challenges of developing a breast cancer vaccine and creating ways to both detect the disease earlier and minimize the effects of surgery.

Dr. Helena Change, director of the center and a highly distinguished surgical oncologist says, “We are extremely honored and excited to have such an extraordinary group of women involved in this year’s event. Their enthusiasm, talent and visibility will allow us to reach a much broader audience, further raising breast cancer awareness.”

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