Coming up on March 12, the 28th Annual Bunny Hop, hosted by the Associate’s Committee of the Society for MSK (which is currently Chaired by Virginia Tomenson, a breast cancer survivor and former MSK patient herself), will welcome children to a springtime wonderland jam-packed with fun activities and entertainment for the entire family–all while raising critical funds for MSK’s Department of Pediatrics.
The long-running Bunny Hop, which heralds the arrival of spring, is a family event and is a wonderful evening for people of all ages, filled with magicians, costumed characters, special performances, delicious treats and much more! The event will be sponsored by Bonpoint, and the Chairs of this year’s event are Lindsey Coleman, Carolina de Neufville, and Anna Burke Patterson, along with Honorary Chairs Savannah Guthrie and Jenna Bush Hager.
The event is not only an opportunity for family fun (like cupcake decorating, face painting, a petting zoo, NJA Jams arcade games, and more), but it’s also a fabulous opportunity to support a great cause and to discuss the importance of giving back with children.
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“This year, we worked with Seedlings, a parent group, to give terminology to have a talk with your kids [about the cause]. And we also encourage kids to raise coins, and change, to bring to the event, as a nice way to have them participate in it,” Tomenson, a mom-of-two (her little ones are 3 years and 8 months in age), says. “Seedlings gave a really clean descriptor of what the money goes to, how it’s helping kids, and what MSK does, and how to speak to them about it, and explain that the change they bring will be helpful.”
As Chair of the Associates Committee, Tomenson, whose professional background is in luxury retail and business development for brands like Tiffany and Harry Winston, has the task of overseeing all aspects of the Committee’s fundraising events, and then making sure that the Committee is also volunteering and are giving back with the funds raised. “Not only do we have events, which help us raise money, but we also participate in the distribution of our funds and are involved through giving back with these activities,” she explains. A cancer survivor herself, supporting MSK’s mission is personal to her.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31 and I was a patient at MSK. I had an incredible, not only medical, but experience, as a patient there. I think that the care that they give—mentally and physically—is just the best and it saved my life in so many ways,” she says. “The thought and care that goes into every bit of detail of making sure a patient feels comfortable and respected throughout treatment is really thought through. So I really believed that I wanted to give back to MSK, and I knew that was going to be something important for me. I became involved with the Society a year or two after I was done with treatment and I also volunteer at the hospital through their volunteer program. I try to find as many ways that I can to give back because I’m so grateful and appreciative and understanding of how all of these little acts make a difference.”
The same level of care goes into the annual Bunny Hop. One such detail is that this year, the event has two very special Honorary Chairs: “TODAY” stars Jenna Bush Hager and Savannah Guthrie. “For this year’s Bunny Hop, we’re thrilled to have Jenna and Savannah as honorary chairs. Jenna’s a godmother to my son and Savannah is the godmother to my niece… They’re great and they’re so great for what the Society stands for and the values that our members stand for and family and really making an impact,” Tomens0on says.
And while the Bunny Hop is always a grand display of fun and springtime whimsy for children and parents alike, at the heart of the event is the undercurrent of giving back and supporting the worthy work done at MSK–a mission that Tomenson takes to heart: “We do do a lot of fund-raising activities and social activities, but behind it all, we’re really in there in the hospital with patients and raising money to make a difference,” she explains. “These events are a catalyst for change and a catalyst to provide the funds for patients. I feel like that’s really important and I like to remind people of that—yes, it’s a fun party, and we have great events and all that, but at the end of the day it’s because it brings the funds that are needed to make an impact for all of the patients in the hospital.”
This year’s Bunny Hop will take place on Tuesday, March 12, from 5-6:30pm at 583 Park Avenue. The VIP entry time for ticket package purchasers is 4:30 pm.