May 22, 2016
BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Oscar nominee Mariel Hemingway riveted the 200 guests at the May 11 Ryan Lycht Sang Bipolar Foundation Medical Briefing Luncheon describing her grandfather Ernest Hemingway and her sister Margeaux, and their lifelong battles with depression. Speaking in the Drake Hotel ballroom along with researchers on early-onset Bipolar Disorder, Mariel addressed how the disease affects families.
The radiant star of Manhattan and Lipstick related:
“My genetics terrified me. My grandfather was the most amazing author but he was so tortured. Both he and my sister committed suicide along with several other members of my family. As the youngest child, I had the ‘I can fix it’ attitude and thought if I was perfect, I could keep them all from self-medicating with alcohol. I knew I didn’t want to become them, and now I know that many had bipolar disorder. I think I tried everything in my desire to survive. I exercised too much and sweated too much, put dots on my head and went to lots of holistic healers. Finally, it was a meeting with the Dalai Lama, whom I met in India, who looked me in the eye and said very gently, ‘you are ok.’”
Guests received copies of her new book, Out Came the Sun: Overcoming Mental Illness, Addiction and Suicide in my Family. Mariel co-produced with Oprah Winfrey Running from Crazy, an Emmy-nominated documentary about the Hemingway family that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. She has also authored best sellers on nutrition and self-empowering strategies. Her ease and humor about life were apparent as she recounted the story of Woody Allen’s pursuit of her to star in Manhattan. She revealed that until then, she had never heard of him!
Benefit co-chairs Abby O’Neil, Mamie Walton, and Kathy Katz told of the dedication of Foundation founders Joyce and Dusty Sang, parents of Ryan, who had early-onset Bipolar Disorder and died at 24. The Sangs received the People of Vision Award for their commitment to research along with other recognitions of their continuous dedication. Both Joyce and Dusty spoke about their determination to help those who suffer like Ryan did.
Panelists Robin Nusslock Ph.D. and Dr. Janet Wozniak told of “the quest for the test,” a way to determine bipolar disorder in young children, in the program entitled “The Science and the Stigma.”
Among the guests at the tenth anniversary luncheon were: Carroll Joynes, Conor O’Neil, Ethel Gofen, Mary Ellen Christy, Tina Wardrop, Helen Melchior, Lynn Hummer, Jean Atchison, Alice Tucker, Kathlyn Maguire, Cynthia Curry, Henry Perina, Sarah Potter, Suzanne Mack, Andrea Biel-Cohen, Leslie Kennedy, Amy Morro, Kitty Freidheim, Margie Boyle, Suzanne Friedman, Kathy Pick, and Buck Betten, who was a friend of Ryan’s and co-chairs the junior committee with his wife, Elizabeth. Miriam and Steve Kimsley came in all the way from Palm Beach for the luncheon.