14 November 2018

2018 H.U.G. Award Gala honors Eurovet and Robert Vitale, President and CEO of Wacoal America, to benefit pediatric programs at Rusk Rehabilitation and other services at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.

New York, NY, November 13, 2018 –

The 2018 H.U.G. Award Gala, held at the luxurious 230 Fifth Penthouse on November 6 by Project Help Us Give (P-HUG), brought together leaders from the intimate apparel, retail and textile industries to honor Robert Vitale, President and CEO of Wacoal America, and Eurovet, owner of the Curve and Interfiliere international trade shows, to benefit pediatric programs at Rusk Rehabilitation and other services at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.  Accepting the H.U.G. Award for Eurovet were Marie-Laure Bellon, CEO of Eurovet, and Raphael Camp, CEO of Eurovet Americas.

A popular event during the November intimate apparel market week, the festive affair marked P-HUG’s 63rd year of charitable giving and the 41st year of its dedication to raising funds for children treated at Rusk Rehabilitation.  To date, the H.U.G. Award Gala has raised more than $7 million for Rusk Rehabilitation and NYU Langone’s children’s programs.

“This year’s H.U.G. Award Gala was especially exciting because it came in a year that saw NYU Langone unveil amazing upgrades to the pediatric rehabilitation facilities,” said P-HUG President Clelia Parisi. “We are proud to be a long-term supporter of the important programs offered at these state-of-the-art facilities and thank our honorees Bob Vitale and Eurovet, along with all our wonderful guests and supporters, for helping us make a huge impact on the lives of the children healed at the Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone.”

The fundraiser drew 250 guests who enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres during the reception, which featured an exhibit of collage art by pop artist Michael Albert, who invited guests to select sections of cereal boxes to include in a collage inspired by P-HUG’s mission that he was creating during the event.

The ceremony began with the presentation of a video showing the Rusk Rehabilitation’s pediatric services team thanking P-HUG for its invaluable support for their programs. The uplifting footage ended with each of the staffers reciting P-HUG’s slogan “I Give a Hug.”

P-HUG Secretary Walter Costello served as the event’s master of ceremonies and introduced opening remarks by P-HUG President Clelia Parisi, who thanked the H.U.G. Committee members for their tireless work to support P-HUG’s mission. Parisi described the organization’s unique charitable model of dedicated giving which applies funds raised to specific programs at Rusk Rehabilitation and Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital based on a wish list submitted by the rehabilitation and pediatric services teams there. Parisi also announced that she is completing her term as P-HUG president and will be succeeded in 2019 by Second Vice President Andrew Sia.

Dr. Stephen R. Flanagan, Howard A. Rusk Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine and Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU Langone, shared with attendees the impact of P-HUG’s support for Rusk Rehabilitation in these times of dwindling resources. Dr. Flanagan pointed out in his remarks that P-HUG officers and committee members provide not only financial support but incorporate themselves into the fabric of the Rusk Rehabilitation treatment experience, improving the social and psychological well-being of the Rusk children and their families.

H.U.G. honorees later shared their impressions of P-HUG’s work during the awards ceremony hosted by Costello.

Robert Vitale, a longtime supporter of the H.U.G. Gala, characterized P-HUG as unique among charities by virtue of exhibiting both passion and compassion while fulfilling its mission to support pediatric rehabilitation at Rusk and NYU Langone.

Eurovet CEO Marie-Laure Bellon conveyed how impressed she was by the work done by the pediatric rehabilitation services team at Rusk whom she met during Eurovet’s tour of the facilities. Bellon also lauded the high quality of the cutting-edge equipment which is in part supported by funds raised by the H.U.G. Award Gala. Raphael Camp, CEO of Eurovet America, complimented the H.U.G. Gala for how it brings industries together like a family to support an important cause.

Raphael Camp, Marie-Laure Bellon and Robert Vitale

Raphael Camp, Kristopher Kaye, Marie-Laure Bellon, Octavio Quintana and Marion Pradier-Sentucq


Established in 1955, Project Help Us Give is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting pediatric treatment and rehabilitation. Its mission is to unite individuals in a charitable organization, and to partner with pediatric healthcare and service providers to deliver the best care and to contribute to children’s independence and optimize their quality of life.

Project Help Us Give’s annual fundraiser, the H.U.G. Award Gala, honors well-respected, high-profile companies and individuals from retail, fashion and other business sectors, and has generated more than $6.5 million in support of Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone’s children’s programs.  Past recipients of the H.U.G. Award include Jockey International, Kohl’s, JCPenney, Macy’s, PVH, Target, HanesBrands, KOMAR, Maidenform and Victoria’s Secret, among many others.

To learn more about Project Help Us Give and the H.U.G. Gala, or to donate, visit www.project-helpusgive.org.  You can also contact the P-HUG office by email: [email protected] or by phone: 845-758-5752.


Rusk Rehabilitation has been ranked one of the top ten rehabilitation programs in the country since 1989, when US News and World Report introduced its annual “Best Hospitals” rankings. Rusk is among the most renowned centers of its kind for the treatment of adults and children with disabilities—home to innovations and advances that have set the standard in rehabilitation care for every stage of life and every phase of recovery.  To learn more about Rusk Rehabilitation, visit http://nyulangone.org/locations/rusk-rehabilitation.

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Media contact:

Edgar Trinidad

[email protected]

Phone: 646.331.6333

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