"I’m going to put it on my mantle," said Christopher Andersen.
It was the night of Tuesday, Nov. 18, and Mr. Andersen was standing on the top deck of a multi-plateau ballroom in the Time Warner Center. Below him, hundreds of guests were strolling about sipping cocktails and inhaling mini-hamburgers.
Mr. Andersen was cradling in his hands a large bronze award statue. "Feel how heavy it is," said Mr. Andersen, pushing the award into a reporter’s hands.
Moments earlier, Mr. Andersen (no relation to Wired‘s similarly named editor) had received the award, known as a Joanie. It was given to him for his book, Somewhere in Heaven: The Remarkable Love Story of Dana and Christopher Reeve.
"It’s a love story," he said. "I like universal themes."
The partygoers had gathered there at an annual benefit for Joan’s Legacy, a New York based charity that raises money to fight against lung cancer, which was created in honor of Joan Scarangello, a successful, beloved, nonsmoking television producer who died of the disease in 2001. She was 47 years old.
Bill Ritter, the WABC anchor whose mother passed away some 20 years ago from lung cancer, served as the evening’s master of ceremonies. He noted that if the nation could find billions of dollars to bail out Wall Street, it should be able to find at least that much money to bail out Americans suffering from the disease.
Brian Williams, the anchor of the NBC Nightly News, was also on hard, delivering his signature self-deprecating one-liners, and helping to hand out the Joanie Awards, which honor works of journalism that shed light on the disease.
Back on the top deck of the room overlooking Central Park, Mr. Andersen explained that Ms. Reeve, a nonsmoker, passed away from lung cancer less than a year and a half after her husband actor Christopher Reeve’s death, leaving behind a 13-year-old son. There were other grim family details, which Mr. Andersen began to explain, but his words were soon drowned out by the music of a blues band, playing on a platform below.
Mr. Andersen excused himself so that he could check out the silent auction.
There, in a room adjacent to the main hall, partygoers checked out the goods, which ranged from a bright orange Vespa to a Tory Burch Bombe T-tote to tickets to a Jets game.
At 9 p.m. the bidding ended. Some lucky, generous person had won the right to spend a day on the set of Meet the Press during a taping (and got some copies of interim anchor Tom Brokaw’s books) for a winning bid of $1,500.