"Sex and the City" television star Cynthia Nixon drew cheers, tears and some criticism at a breast cancer summit on Monday in Baldwin.
In a speech at the Coral House catering hall, Nixon said that in the past, "I've always said . . . I am a cancer survivor and the daughter of a cancer survivor. But . . . my mother finally succumbed" in January, said Nixon, 47, who was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago.
At the summit, which was attended by more than 400 people, other speakers focused on patient education and the latest treatments and services for women with breast cancer.
The event was sponsored by the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group, a reconstructive and cosmetic surgery practice headquartered in Garden City, and the Coral House.
Nixon, who played attorney Miranda Hobbes in the HBO series and subsequent films, spent much of her speech painting a portrait of her mother Anne Knoll Nixon's nearly 35-year struggle with three separate breast cancer attacks, and her death.
"My mother's 35-year war with breast cancer was a success," she said of her mother, who was 82 at the time of her death.
Nixon also encouraged listeners to be disciplined in dealing with breast cancer, and its sometimes-fatal outcome..
Pastor Lisa Calabrese of the Regeneration Church in Bethpage, complained in a question-and-answer session that Nixon's message focused too much on death instead of hope and led several women to leave the event in tears.
Calabrese also told Nixon, who is openly gay and referred in her speech to her wife: "I also think you should keep your personal sexual preference to yourself."
Nixon agreed that Calabrese might have a point about her emphasis on death, but disagreed with the comment about her personal life.
"It's important to tell the truth," she said.
Nixon was introduced by Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who hosted the event.