Photographer Paul Hagedorn grew up in Port Washington, N.Y., on Long Island, sailing and vacationing on the water with his large family of five siblings. That is, until his hospitalization in Colorado at Denver’s National Jewish Health, previously called Children’s Asthma Research Institute and Hospital, where he spent 18 months.
Fast forward to Oct. 13. Hagedorn and his wife, Julie, sponsored a fashion event and cocktail reception at the Saks Fifth Avenue clubhouse level, as part of their efforts to raise awareness and funds for the very same hospital.
Hagedorn said, “Asthma is no joke. Growing up in an old farmhouse in New York with dogs, dust mites, mold, and a mom who smoked, I was being hospitalized frequently due to uncontrolled asthma attacks. Luckily, in fourth grade, I was brought to National Jewish Health in Denver. My parents took us to Disneyland in California and dropped me off for a year-and-a-half stay.”
When quizzed how an eight-year-old child could deal with what some might call abandonment, Hagedorn said, “They [my parents] saved my life. They feared I was going to die from asthma. Fortunately, they found a specialized center and sent me away for inpatient treatment there. Slowly, I got better. My asthma attacks were becoming less frequent. The medicines I received in treatment were successful, and my parents no longer had to worry about me dying.”
Paul Hagedorn’s father, Horace Hagedorn, founder of Miracle Gro, showed financial gratitude towards National Jewish Health “beyond measure.” Carrying this forward, Paul Hagedorn has donated over a million dollars in proceeds from sales of his highly sought-after photography. He said, “As a self-taught fine art photographer, I have leveraged my talent to pursue my philanthropy. With my father as my mentor, I have grown to value the importance of giving back. Two pieces of my personal work have been donated to ‘National Jewish’ for a drawing at this Saks Fifth Avenue event tonight.”
Note that, as an adult, Hagedorn was instrumental in the product development, design, and packaging for Miracle Gro, alongside his father. Many of those who count gardening as one of the top hobbies in the U.S. know the brand which is highly ranked and sold from Home Depot to Amazon.
Paul’s wife, Dr. Julie Levine, a retired physician, related their donations to ongoing important research in funding a new study to uncover biological drugs with potential for new asthma treatments. Dr. Levine said, “The study is only nine months in, but there just might be an important relationship, like with atopic dermatitis, that could provide clues to catching asthma early.”
Saks Fifth Avenue marketing director Marian Goldberg greeted guests who were enchanted by the music of The Juilliard School violinist Richmond Punch. Tall, sleek models glided amidst champagne flutes, mojitos, pastel mixed concoctions, and hors d’oeuvres, and posed alongside Hagedorn’s photos. Bert Levy, an attorney at Arnall Golden Gregory (AGG), who chairs the Midtown legal firm’s art committee and serves on the board of Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, has an eye for fine photography. Levy said, “Paul has been a friend for a long time. I admire his vision for seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary.”
As well as on the AGG firm’s walls, the Levy home displays an unusual Hagedorn photograph of a wall being painted.
Reaching back to his youthful memories of sailing, Hagedorn and his wife, Julie, continue to spend time vacationing on their 75-foot yacht based in Florida.
- Marcia Caller Jaffe
- Paul Hagedorn
- Port Washington
- Long Island
- Denver’s National Jewish Health
- Children’s Asthma Research Institute and Hospital
- Saks Fifth Avenue
- Horace Hagedorn
- Miracle Gro
- ome Depot
- Dr. Julie Levine
- arian Goldberg
- The Juilliard School
- Richmond Punch.
- Bert Levy
- Arnall Golden Gregory
- High Museum of Art