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‘Cancer Schmancer,’ says Fran Drescher

What: Cancer Schmancer Movement pre-launch fundraiser and cocktail party.

Where: The home of Christine Warnke, chair of the D.C. Commission for Women.

When: March 27, 2007 6:30-8:30 pm

Who: Washington lawyers and business folk, The Hill's publisher Francine McMahon, actress and Cancer Schmancer founder Fran Drescher, and an appearance by Senator Arlen Specter.

Food: Finger foods and snacks brought cautiously through the guests on large platters. Jumbo shrimp, mini-ham and Dijon mustard biscuit sandwiches, crackers topped with pesto, tomato and mozzarella, fresh vegetables and hummus.

Drink: Red and White wine, lemonade and sparkling flavored water.

Scene:An intimate group of 50 co-workers, friends and acquaintances of those who work for and support the "Cancer Schmancer" Movement were crowded onto the brick terrace of the two-story home near American University. Though the weather was nice, there was hardly space to reach out and grab a mini sandwich as it passed. Attendees introduced themselves to anyone who was facing them, leading to conversations about hometowns, politics, and—more frequently—loved ones lost to cancer.  Pennsylvania's Specter popped in long enough to have his photo taken, and was escorted out again.

The Speech: Drescher jumped into her speech with her own cancer survival story. She got serious about the politics of cancer education and funding, more cancer screening tests, and the removal of carcinogens from women's products. Though many parts of the speech came straight from the Cancer Schmancer presentation kit, she seemed determined to spread the word about late cancer diagnosis and make Congress “put their money where their mouth is.”  She kicked a couple of jokes in as well, bringing giggles from the mostly-female crowd.  After describing her two-year fight with doctors who persisted she was too young for uterine cancer, Drescher said, “I'm finally too young and too thin for something, and I get it anyway!” The Cancer Schmancer non-profit organization will be officially launched in June. Its purpose, organizers explained, is to raise cancer awareness and change health policy to better promote diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of womens' cancers through lobbying. The movement was spawned by Drescher's 2003 novel of the same name.

Fran to the Rescue:  When one attendee suddenly felt faint, Drescher sprang into motherly action asking: “Have you eaten today? Have you had any protein today?”  After it was clear that the woman was all right, Fran announced “Now there's a girl who knows how to make an exit!” accompanied by that classic nasal laugh.

Bold Face Names: 3 (out of 5)
Food/Drink: 3 (out of 5)
Swankiness: 3 (out of 5)
Exclusivity: 3 (out of 5)

Total Score: 12 (out of 20)

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