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But on Friday night in East Hampton, Donna Karan and the Cinema Society feted Kris Carr, a 36-year-old woman with 23 slow-growing tumors in her stomach and lungs. And as any of the attendees would have told you, the evening was anything but glum.
Held at the designer's shorefront home, there was health food by the truckload, Hamptons staples like Christy Turlington and Ed Burns, s'mores on the beach and a screening of Carr's documentary "Crazy Sexy Cancer," which chronicles the young woman's fight against the disease and airs on the Learning Channel Wednesday. "I'm totally amazed by her spirit," said Christie Brinkley. "To be able to put one foot in front of the other like that."
Indeed, Carr's story is not one of laying down and dying. After receiving her diagnosis in 2003, she went all over the country learning about the link between healthy living and containing her disease.
After completing a film about the topic last year, Carr showed up unannounced at Karan's Urban Zen Initiative, a conference that helps to bring together Western medicine and holistic living. (The initiative also has a clothing line. A portion of the proceeds go toward patient advocacy.) "A girlfriend of mine told me about it," explained Carr. "So I went down and gave Donna my movie."
"I watched it at 4:30 in the morning. I was blown away," said the designer.
By the next afternoon, Karan had placed Carr on a panel and become the film's unofficial publicist. "That's Donna," said Carr. "She's a force of nature."
Her new friend was happy to return the compliment. "Kris is a beam of light," Karan said.