Social Life Magazine | Luxury Publication for the Hamptons

Rhonda’s Kiss Charity Continued to Raise the Bar; Helping Cancer Patients in Need with the Second Annual Legacy of Love Gala in New York City at TAO Downtown

The fundraising event held at TAO Downtown was held to benefit the Maimonides Cancer Center Patient Care Program in partnership with Rhonda’s Kiss. Guests sipped on El Cristiano Tequila, Casa Luigi Prosecco, Mercer+Prince Whisky, and Maison No, 9 Rose.

Zach Braff, Danny A Abeckaser Credit: Shutterstock

In 2013 Rhonda Stefanski was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and passed away just a couple of months later. Following her passing, husband Marc Stefanski and his four children wasted little time in their mission to help others and founded “Rhonda’s Kiss.” The family-organized charity continues to celebrate Rhonda’s memory through lifesaving work and giving back to local communities in need. To date the organization, now spearheaded by her son Kyle Stefanski as the Executive Director, has donated over $2 million to support cancer patients.

Rhonda’s Kiss aims to assist in the whole care of a cancer patient, working to ease the insurmountable costs associated with a cancer diagnosis. The organization uses a three-pronged approach, focusing on outreach (education, awareness and screening), navigation (medical and home) and patient services (treatment and financial assistance, and emotional support). In addition, Rhonda’s Kiss’s main efforts focus on assisting with non-medical needs with items such as covering the cost of rent and utilities, wigs, oncology massage, nutrition, exercise, groceries, childcare, household expenses, utilities, rent, mortgage, ambulance transport, and other transportation costs related to treatment, as well as unexpected costs involved in the holistic care of each patient.

Through their alignment with Maimonides Hospital Cancer Center in Brooklyn, they have established the Patient Care Program to support patients that need support with the expenses listed above. This program gives extra support to the patients and their families as they battle this horrific disease and deal with the devastating factors that affect their everyday life.

Derek Warburton Credit: Shutterstock

The organization and Maimonides teamed up to host their second annual Legacy of Love Gala in New York, aimed to be an impactful evening of compassion and support to raise awareness for Rhonda’s Kiss Cancer Nonprofit. This event held at TAO Downtown September 7th, 2023, is their annual fashion week fundraising gala with a mission to help cancer patients in need as part of the Cancer Patient Care Program with Maimonides Cancer Center.  

There was a silent and live auction, special live performances, DJ performances, and guest speakers, plus open bar and passed hors d’oeuvres. This year’s gala sponsors include TAO Group Hospitality, El Cristiano Tequila, Casa Luigi Prosecco, Maison No. 9, Mercer+Prince Whisky, Inokim and Samir Bachkami. The after party took place at Starchild Rooftop, at the Civilian hotel.

Commenting on the organization’s work, Kyle Stefanski, Rhonda’s son and Executive Director of Rhonda’s Kiss said, “At Rhonda’s Kiss my father, brothers and sisters and I, along with our board and partners are reminded every day that people struggling with cancer need support to maintain their dignity and fight. We are blessed to have the assistance of our national partners such as Maimonides and supporters to continue to build a legacy of helping others fight this terrible disease through the memory of my mother.”

Katie Cassidy and Guest Credit: Shutterstock

Held at TAO Downtown to help raise money for this important cause, this year’s chairs included Danny A. Abeckaser, Marc Stefanski and Kyle Stefanski, Ambassador Eustace Montgomery Hicks, Reception Hosts Richie Akiva, Michael Cayre, Kenny Hamilton and the Reception Host Committee includes John Powers Middleton, Heshy Augenbaum, Peter Facinelli, Katie Cassidy, Ali Lasky, King Saladeen, Mike Young, Diana Madison, Oren Schneider and Peter Tuchman.

Principal fundraising for Rhonda’s Kiss takes place through national events and local fundraising. In addition to support by the Marc A. and Rhonda L. Stefanski Foundation, Rhonda’s Kiss is well-known for its annual celebrity fundraising events and concerts. Funds raised are distributed to local hospitals where money is raised. 

To donate:

About Rhonda’s Kiss

Rhonda’s Kiss is a national non-profit created to help cancer patients in need by donating to the non-medical expenses associated with cancer. The organization is passionate about giving patients and their families a fighting chance to recover. Through fundraising and annual events, the organization has worked to help raise awareness and funding towards cancer programs that are led by forward-thinking doctors at hospitals that support the charity’s overall mission.  Follow on social media @rhondaskiss.