A Soiree Chez Shafiroff to Benefit Surgeons of Hope

While it’s not quite the Algonquin Round Table (let’s leave that to Wednesdays at Michael’s) the Shafiroff’s magnificent apartment on the UES, is always an amalgam of the charitable, the luminary, and the political. Last night was no different as Jean and Martin Shafiroff hosted a kickoff cocktail reception for the Surgeons of Hope gala to take place on May 3 at Le Bernadin.

A crowded scene

The Surgeons of Hope slogan “No child deserves a broken heart” is one which the foundation truly believes in seeking to fund those in developing nations who often don’t have access to lifesaving heart surgery. SOH helps to build and equip medical facilities for communities in need in Nicaragua where they opened a Pediatric Heart Center in 2013, as well as in Costa Rica and Peru. They also send medical teams to Latin America, and train local doctors to perform those surgeries after the team leaves.

Starting second from left: Odile De Schietere-Longhampt, Charles-Edouard Catherine and Daniela Nikolova

Charles-Edouard Catherine, the organization’s Executive Director who lost his sight a few years ago yet runs the New York City Marathon, is one of several who spoke last night. He shared an inspiring story about a young girl who was losing her battle with congenital heart disease until Surgeon of Hope stepped in. A few hours after her surgery she began to decline with a very low heart rate however the surgeon made the 20 minute trip back to the hospital in a record-breaking seven minutes in order to save her after which she made a full recovery.

Jean Shafiroff

Jean, in an orange beaded strapless Oscar de la Renta frock (from the Garcia/Kim latest collection) spoke about visiting the Managua center in 2016 –“I posted a photo of a girl from my visit to the center on my Instagram today.” She also recounted a story about how the government of Spain gave a loan of $5 million to help build the medical center — it was a loan which they later graciously forgave. With so many charities to represent it makes sense to cross promote whenever possible. Jean managed to get a plug in for her daughter Elizabeth’s animal rescue charity Global Strays which does it’s good work in some of the same developing countries.

Edgar Batista and Mary McFadden

As for notable guests in attendance, the fashion world was represented by Mary McFadden, Victor dE Souza and Helen Yarmak who wore some of the most eye-popping jewelry (particularly a blue swivel stone ring) that I have ever seen. Politicians came to meet and greet including Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Candidate Chele Farley (R) challenging Kirsten Gillibrand for US Senate and political flak Matt Rich.

Michel Longchampt and Alejandro Posse, the Consulate General of Panama

Ici on parle Francais — one could hear it in the air as I tried in vain to regain some of my latent fluency. Marie-Monique Steckel, Executive Coordinator of the French Institute Alliance Francaise, Odile de Schietere-Longchampt were amongst those qui va bien.

Lucia Hwong Gordon and Natalie Ross

Social fixtures like Lucia Hwong Gordon, Margo Langenberg and Natalie Ross enlivened the scenery. The champagne flowed and the crowd became oppressive, eventually dwindling down after the speeches — another successful evening  Chez Shafiroff! For more information about Surgeons of Hope and the May 3 gala go to www.surgeonsofhope.org.

– Laurel Marcus

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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