Thursday, October 22, 2009

Around Town: Thank you, Judy Cooper

Last Thursday, I dashed back to La Cañada to attend a tea at the La Cañada Thursday Club. That morning, I had dropped off six dozen homemade chocolate chip cookies for the tea. Despite a busy work schedule, I wanted to reconnect with the ladies.

In case you are a newcomer, or have been living under a rock, the La Cañada Thursday Club is a women’s social club, founded in October 1912 by Elizabeth Frances Knight.

When I was president of the Thursday Club, we did a lot of charity, including substantial scholarship awards, but the outside world did not intrude into the meetings. Once inside the doors of the Mission Revival clubhouse on Woodleigh Lane, with photos of debutantes on the walls and homemade tea sandwiches, we transformed into Betty Drapers, while the “real” world waited outside. Our tea and luncheon programs focused on music, horticulture, history and the arts.

This approach was not in the tradition of Mrs. Knight, who founded the club for “the consideration and discussion of all vital and important questions of the day, and the imparting to others of the knowledge and benefits thus acquired.”

So, I want to publicly thank Judy Cooper, the current president of the La Cañada Thursday Club, for honoring the spirit of Mrs. Knight by kicking off the club year with an excellent program from Stand Up to Cancer (

Everyone was there. City Council members. School board members. State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino. Hundreds of club members.

Our speaker was literary agent and brand marketer Rusty Robertson, a principal in the Robertson Schwartz Agency. Rusty is a founding member of Stand Up to Cancer, as well as the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Plus which, she is totally cool.

Stand Up to Cancer is a charity founded by members of the media, entertainment industry and others who have been touched by cancer. One year ago, their telethon, broadcast on ABC, NBC and CBS, raised more than $100 million. Their goal is to change the paradigm, to go beyond the idea that cancer can be treated a chronic disease, to support research dream teams, to foster open communication between researchers and clinicians, between organizations and disciplines, and to achieve the goal of a world without cancer.

I’ve got to be honest about this. Despite our family’s commitment to finding a cure, there are days when it wears us out. Face it, the economy is down. Fundraising is tough. My brief contact with Rusty Robertson, however, has given me new energy.

I’m ready for the fight.

Thank you, Judy Cooper!

Some day, cancer will be a disease of the past.

La Cañada Valley Sun: La Cañada Flintridge, California
Published Published: Thursday, October 22, 2009 4:13 AM PDT

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