In an off-the-cuff speech that drew both laughs and a few tears from the largely female audience, Heitkamp, 57, described her initial doctor visits prior to her 2000 cancer diagnosis. 

After being told by doctors that she probably had an infection and to start taking antibodies, Heitkamp admitted, “If there’s one thing I’m really bad at, it’s anything that requires a routine.” She then cracked, “This is an excellent place for me, let me tell you, Washington, D.C.”

Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) and ABC News’ Cokie Roberts also delivered remarks at the sold-out soiree.

Photos: (top left) Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampDemocrats scramble to contain Franken fallout  Overnight Finance: House passes sweeping tax bill in huge victory for GOP | Senate confirms banking regulator | Mulvaney eyed for interim head of consumer agency Overnight Regulation: Senators unveil bipartisan gun background check bill | FCC rolls back media regs | Family leave credit added to tax bill | Senate confirms banking watchdog MORE (below) Rep. Billy Long / Courtesy: GW Medical Faculty Associates