Sarah Jessica Parker, shoes and philanthropy created the perfect trifecta to attract Houston’s fashionistas to shop Tuesday while participating in the fight against cancer.
The celebrated actress brought her SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker collection to the Bayou City Event Center for the SJP Warehouse Shoe Sale to benefit research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The Sex and the City star joined her longtime friends and business partners, Manolo Blahnik vice president Tony Yurgaitis and George Malkemus—SJP co-founder and CEO of Manolo Blahnik—in Houston after being inspired by Yurgaitis’ successful cancer treatment at MD Anderson.
“I have a lot to be thankful for and it is fun to give back in this way,” Yurgaitis said. “We have had shoe sales for other benefits and we have had a lot of success back home, so we thought it would be great to do one supporting MD Anderson and to have an opportunity to bring attention to the wonderful work they do.”
SJP, Yurgaitis, Malkemus and their team brought 5,000 colorful pairs of Italian-made SJP shoes that were designed by Parker and Malkemus from New York City to the event.
The collection, which Yurgaitis describes as timeless and classic, ranges from Parker’s trademark pumps to boots, booties, flats and sandals. The shoes normally retail for well over $300, but were specially priced for the event and ranged from $80 to $125.
“The price points are amazing and these shoes will not go out of style,” Yurgaitis said.
Proceeds from the warehouse sale will fund research by Yurgaitis’ doctor, Christopher Logothetis, M.D., director of the Genitourinary Cancer Center at MD Anderson. He’s also co-leader of the Prostate Cancer Moon Shot and administrative director of The David H. Koch Center for Applied Research of Genitourinary Cancers.
“The funds raised from this sale will allow us to build on the foundation that has been created that Tony has been the beneficiary of and help us develop tests to identify who will or will not benefit from these therapies and predict for the toxicity,” Logothetis said. “By doing this, we will be able to establish methods for this experience at MD Anderson that can be deployed worldwide.”
Yurgaitis spent two-and-a-half years traveling from his New York City home and Connecticut dairy farm, Arethusa Farm, for treatments in Houston that included an immunotherapy clinical trial for his prostate cancer.
“I do see more shoe sales for MD Anderson in the future,” said Yurgaitis, who is now cancer-free.
“They eradicated my cancer and I have a good quality of life,” he said. “MD Anderson has a great reputation and I am very fortunate that I made the trip down here for treatment.”
In addition to the proceeds raised from the sale, teen patients attending MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital’s Prom Party Palooza on April 27 will receive their very own pair of SJP shoes to complement their outfits.
“When our patients who have gone through as much as they have gone through, show gratitude, that has a lot of meaning to us,” Logothetis said. “It makes us conscious of how important our work is and emboldens us to be good stewards of their trust.”
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