NET-A-PORTER Limited

Bettina's Take: American Cancer Society's Mothers of the Year Award


On March 3, the American Cancer Society presented its annual Mothers of the Year Awards at a luncheon at the Plaza Hotel in New York City.

This year's honorees were Dr. Freya Schnabel and Muffie Potter Aston. The ballroom was filled with fans of both women. I don't know Dr. Schnabel personally, but from what I understood from Patti Hansen, who presented her with the award, she is nothing short of a saint.

Hansen spoke earnestly about her own battle with breast cancer, and how Dr. Schnabel's patience, encouragement and wisdom had helped her through. The two women have become friends, and Hansen even spoke about Dr. Schnabel's love "of my husband's music"—she's referring to the great Keith Richards.

I do know Muffie personally, and I know this: Muffie deserves an award every day of the year for all the things she does. She is a strong, intelligent, organized do-gooder, multitasking her way through life and letting nothing fall through the cracks.

Whether it's helping an organization (ACS, Memorial Sloan Kettering, the Alzheimer's Association, and many others she's been involved with over the years), a business associate, or a friend in need, Muffie always steps up to the plate. Her most formidable achievement to date has been as a mother to twin girls Ashleigh and Bracie, and as a wife to Sherrell—"the loves of my life," as she puts it.

There were more than a few teary eyes when Dr. Sherrell Aston made the introductory speech presenting the award to his wife. He chronicled her struggles to have children (nine pregnancies) and marveled at what an incredible mother she is. So many of Muffie's fans were in the audience, including benefit co-chairs Allison Stern, Daphna Keitel, Grace Hightower De Niro, Alexandra Lebenthal, Somers Farkas, Georgette Mosbacher, and 2008 award recipient Cynthia Lufkin.

Muffie apologized to downstairs neighbor Ashley McDermott for the noise her twins were making running on her bare floors. "We're getting carpeting soon," she said, but McDermott smiled broadly and graciously waved away any signs of trouble.

As Tory Burch, Hilary Geary Ross, Susan Fales-Hill, and Gigi Mortimer finished nibbling on blood orange mousse, Muffie accepted her award with a moving speech about how much motherhood, and this award, means to her.

Congratulations, Muffie. You're an example to us all.

Photo: Muffie Potter Aston with husband Dr. Sherrell Aston and daughters Bracie and Ashleigh