I had a chance to talk with Holt Murray, Senior Cause Marketing Officer at Boston Medical Center about the upcoming (Thursday June 28th) Catwalk for BMC Cancer Care. It is exciting to see a top-tier medical institution like BMC parterning with my friends at Open HeARTS to make raising money for cancer services and overall awareness fun and fashionable.
What’s kind of small world but big universe about all of this is the fact that Twitter played a major role in connecting me with Holt (probably at least a year ago, totally random and completely unrelated to Open HeARTS) and Twitter played a major role in connecting Holt with Bryan Finocchio, President & Founder of Open HeARTS, because of last year’s amazing Catwalk for a Cure event to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Love the power of social media making new connections and spurring new ideas.
Q&A with Holt Murray
Me: So, tell me, how did BMC get involved with Bryan and the Open HeARTS team?
Holt: I use Twitter quite a bit for work (events, leads, etc.) and had followed Bryan while he was doing the Catwalk for a Cure to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure. After the event was over, I contacted Bryan on Twitter and we met to discuss a partnership between our two organizations. It seemed natural to have a Catwalk event (since that is in Bryan’s wheelhouse of expertise) to benefit BMC’s Cancer Care Center, which is located in the Moakley building at BMC.
Me: Has BMC done an event like this before? If not, what prompted you to do the Catwalk event?
Holt: BMC executes many events such as our annual BMC Gala (which raised over $2.2 M this past May), our annual golf event in July and the Mayo Bowl (Patriots’ Defensive Captain Jerod Mayo’s charity event benefiting BMC happening on September 10, 2012). On average we execute 7-9 events large and small designed to benefit BMC programs. Up to this point, we have never had a cancer-specific fundraising event and given the number of cancer patients we serve and the level of complexity of the cases, we really needed to create something unique to raise awareness and funds.
Me: Tell me about your goals for the event and how Open HeARTS plays into meeting those goals.
Holt: BMC has a very specific role in the community and our cancer care services are no exception. We provide superb cancer care to the residents of Boston who are most at risk and least likely to receive the care that all cancer patients deserve. Because of who we serve, I would argue that no other hospital so routinely goes the extra mile to ensure that patients are getting the care they need. Everything from providing rides to treatment, arranging for interpreters or child care, or scheduling appointments and coordinating treatment plans so that patients miss as little work (and wages) as possible. Catwalk will raise the visibility of BMC and there is no better partner to help us do this than Bryan Finnochio of Open Hearts. He is passionate about cancer care and helping BMC promote all the good that we are doing. Much of Bryan’s passion comes from his “other” job as a Registered Nurse! He brings his commitment to healthcare and passion for fashion together for these Catwalk events. He’s an impressive guy all the way around and we’re lucky to be working with him.
Me: Will patients/survivors be participating in the event? Tell me how.
Holt: Definitely! Great question…we wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ll have patients IN the fashion show itself and patients will also be attending the event. A great number of employees of the Cancer Care Center will be in the audience cheering on our patients. For many of our patients, the caregivers at BMC are “family.” For our caregivers, the feeling is mutual.
Me: How does BMC view the Catwalk event as a way to raise awareness and money for cancer care services?
Holt: These funds will not go to research, but to services for our cancer patients and for the great facility at BMC. National and local celebrities will be playing key roles in the event which helps raise the profile. These celebrities, along with the designers, their networks and Bryan’s networks, will attract a new audience for us. At the event, we will take just a few moments to educate everyone about how BMC is special. However, having the patients and their caregivers walking in the show will tell it all. Each patient has a story and these stories together create the BMC story and I can attest to the fact that is one like no other.
Me: What excites you most about the event?
Holt: That we have six designers donating their time and expertise to us and creating unique styles specifically for this event and their patient/survivor runway models. I’m equally excited by the idea that this is the inaugural event for a to-be annual event for the Cancer Care Center. Having the chance to highlight (through this event and in this breathtaking location high atop 60 State Street) the incredible work done in the Moakley Building is akin to asking me to brag about all that is good and forward thinking at Boston Medical Center.
Me: And, the most important question, what and who will you be wearing??
Holt: Tux (I think, definitely a tux. I believe RL Polo).
Me: Holt, that will be a definite upgrade from the puffy vest…but we love you anyway. Can’t take the fashion critic out of the girl.
We can all use a great excuse to dust off an old party dress, buy a new party dress or just show up looking like you’re ready to party. So get your tickets for the Catwalk for BMC Cancer Care before all the fashionable people in Boston have scooped them up —> BUY TICKETS HERE!
Look for my upcoming posts where I’ll interview some of the fashion designers you’ll meet at the event! Stay tuned….