Veterinarians International will host its annual Wild At Heart gala at the Bridgehampton Tennis and Surf Club on August 3 from 6:30 to 11:30 PM. Guests will enjoy a cocktail reception hosted by Christie Brinkley and her champagne, Bellissima, delight in a sustainably-sourced dinner, and try their luck with a silent and live auction. Also new this year is a luxe bonfire on the beach, sponsored by Davidoff of Geneva, with guest DJ Alexandra Richards and Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman on the bongos.
Veterinarians International was established in 2014 by founder and president Dr. Scarlett Magda. Its goal is “to reduce the illness and suffering of animals in underserved regions while enhancing the well-being of people.” Through veterinary care, the health of humans, animals, and the environment, all of which are linked together, are on the road to recovery.
Dr. Magda is a passionate veterinarian, with more than 10 years of experience spanning the globe, including work for Thai Elephant Conservation Center to the Belize Zoo. As an East End resident, she provides veterinary services and assistance to the area, ensuring the community is also well served.
“Disease knows no borders” she said. “It’s important that we increase capacity globally and help animals in communities have access to training and health care so that their disease spreading goes down and their diseases don’t end up spreading to other countries,” Dr. Magda continued.
“With global travel, within 24 hours disease can go from any country to another. People wonder why we work internationally but really it’s all one planet.”
The goal for the Wild at Heart benefit is to raise $250,000, with an overall organization goal of $650,000. Veterinarians International has partnered with Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection, a Liberian NGO providing a facility for nearly 3000 chimpanzee that are saved from the illegal wildlife trade. V.I. provides the vet care and food. In addition, Kenya has a goal to eliminate rabies by 2030, with 2000 Kenyans dying every year from the disease, 98 percent of that infection coming from a dog bite. The goal of V.I. is to vaccinate as many dogs as possible, partnering with its wildlife forum.
This year’s honoree is Dr. Carl Safina, a passionate humanitarian and founder of The Safina Center. Ecologist and author, Dr. Safina started the nonprofit based out of East Setauket in 2003 with one mission; “to advance the case for life on Earth by fusing scientific understanding, emotional connection, and a moral call to act.” The organization has created inspirational TED talks, a PBS TV series, bestselling books, and award-winning photography.
Gala co-chairs this year are Jessica Hollander and Sacha Lehto. Georgina Bloomberg is the benefit’s committee chair, with committee members Alec Sokolow, Andy Arons, Anne Chaisson, April Gornik, Christine Evangelista, Dwayne Hill, Jack Kelly, Kate Gilroy, Kyriaki Chonacas, Penni Ludwig, and Susan Rockefeller.
“I’m so blessed to live here and have the support of the community in all of these different ways,” Dr. Magda said. “For me, ‘Wild at Heart’ means that animals are able to live in as wild an experience as possible. The attributes of being wild are freedom, safety, food security. When you think of wild, you think free and unfortunately, a lot of animals aren’t living like that, some being chained up 20 hours a day. We want the audience to come with a wild at heart mindset. Dress and act as wild as you want.”
Bridgehampton Tennis & Surf Club is located at 231 Mid Ocean Drive in Bridgehampton. Visit www.wildatheartbenefit.com for more information. If you cannot donate monetarily, there’s an opportunity to volunteer at the event as well. Follow @vetsinternational or www.vetsinternational.org.