NEW YORK, Nov. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and the Lupus Research Institute raised over $2 million at its annual Life Without Lupus Gala 2013 to support innovative novel research that can improve care while advancing towards a cure. Nearly 700 members of New York City's philanthropic, government, business, art, music and health care communities joined to help turn lupus research upside down and patients' lives around.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg received the Distinguished Public Health Leadership Award in recognition of his many contributions in helping New Yorkers lead healthier lives and for his long-standing support of the organization's work in improving the well-being of people with lupus.
In presenting the award, S.L.E. Lupus Foundation President Richard DeScherer commented, "During his 12 years as Mayor, Michael Bloomberg has led a remarkable agenda to improve the health of all New Yorkers, creating innovative public health models now adopted throughout the nation. His leadership initiated comprehensive health policies that have provided a strong framework and positive climate for government and private sector healthcare agencies to work together to advance sensible and much-needed healthcare practices benefiting the patients and families we serve."
Expressing appreciation, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, "The Lupus Research Institute deserves a lot of credit. Thinking about their intellectual capacity focusing on this one disease, it gives you great comfort that we're making progress and that, hopefully, sooner, rather than later, we're going to discover what causes lupus, how to prevent it, and how to cure people who already have the disease. On behalf of 8.4 million New Yorkers, I want to say thank you and keep up the good work."
As the world's biggest fundraising event for lupus, the Gala was held against the fitting larger-than-life backdrop of the whales and dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History. NBC's Today Show Co-host Willie Geist entertained with wit and style as Master of Ceremonies, while Jazz legend and Lincoln Center Artistic Director of Jazz Wynton Marsalis literally blew guests away on trumpet.
Gala honorees Simona and Jerome Chazen were celebrated as pioneers of the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and Lupus Research Institute. In accepting the award presented by founder Susan Golick, Simona said, "We first became involved in the organization over 30 years ago when my sister Naomi died of lupus as a young woman. The progress we have seen, particularly over the past decade, gives us great hope for the future."
Wynton said, "It is an honor to perform at an event that advances lupus research to help millions affected by such a difficult disease. It is particularly gratifying to celebrate a couple who shares my passion for jazz and the arts."
Gala 2013 Dinner Chairs were Louise & Sid Banon; Mary E. Belle; David Chazen; Kathy Chazen & Larry Miller; Jennie & Richard DeScherer and Susan Golick & Alan Wasserman.
New York luminaries supporting the event included opera legend Jessye Norman; philanthropists Leon and Tzili Charney; Jennie and Richard DeScherer; Edward and Arlyn Gardner; Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg; Ninah and Michael Lynne; Phyllis and Bill Mack; Laura and John Pomerantz; Nancy and Fred Poses; Fern and Lenard Tessler and Carol and Michael Weisman.
A live auction conducted by C.K. Swett of Heritage House generated donations for novel science and services to help people with lupus now and in the future.
Many city and state politicians attended in honor of Mayor Bloomberg including: Former Governor Mario Cuomo and Former First Lady Matilda Cuomo, New York Senator Diane Savino; First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly; and NY Assemblywoman Vanessa Gibson.
About S.L.E. Lupus Foundation
The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation is the country's preeminent organization delivering direct patient services, public education and novel research at a national level. Founded more than 40 years ago in New York City by lupus patients and their families as the first nonprofit to serve the lupus community, it remains the cornerstone of comprehensive care in all five boroughs in the continuous battle for a Life Without Lupus.
About the Lupus Research Institute
The Lupus Research Institute (LRI), the leading private supporter of novel research in lupus, pioneers discovery and champions scientific creativity as it demonstrates the power of innovation to propel scientific discovery in this complex autoimmune disease. Founded by families and shaped by leading scientists, the Institute has generated $170 million in novel lupus research, delivering many of the decade's most pivotal discoveries, transforming treatment and advancing toward prevention and a cure.
SOURCE S.L.E. Lupus Foundation