Chronic Disease and Disability Communities Pay Tribute to Senator Tom Harkin

Tribute raises critically needed funds to support the Lupus Foundation of America's mission

May 21, 2014, 06:00 ET from Lupus Foundation of America

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Federal agency leaders, Members of Congress and national leaders from the chronic disease and disability communities gathered to pay Special Tribute to The Honorable Tom Harkin (D-IA), an unparalleled champion during his 30 years of public service for those affected by chronic disease and disability. The Tribute, held in Washington, DC on Tuesday, May 20, benefited the Lupus Foundation of America and highlighted the extraordinary leadership and contributions Senator Harkin has made to the advancement of science and medicine, including his outstanding support for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other key federal agencies supporting medical research on chronic diseases.

Senator Harkin's signature legislative achievement, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) changed the landscape of America by requiring buildings and transportation to be wheelchair accessible and requiring workplaces to provide accommodations for people with disabilities. He also championed funding for the National Lupus Patient Registry under the direction of the CDC, which will provide a more accurate estimate of the number of people with lupus in the United States. To-date, the study has received an estimated $32 million in funding and will reveal the burden of disease on individuals and their families.

"It is truly an honor to celebrate Senator Harkin's many accomplishments and extraordinary leadership in building the national biomedical research enterprise as a national priority," said Sandra C. Raymond, President and CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America.

New York Times Best-Selling author and CBS This Morning contributor, Lee Woodruff served as the Master of Ceremonies. Tessanne Chin, recording artist and Season 5 winner of NBC's The Voice, closed the evening with a powerful performance of Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing, bringing the crowd to their feet.

Members of Congress and federal agency leaders that attended to recognize Senator Harkin's leadership and public service included Senator Richard Shelby (AL),  Dr. Tom Frieden, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Stephen Katz, Director of National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases,  Jon R. Lorsch, PhD , Director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences,  and Martha J. Somerman, D.D.S, PhD, Director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Sponsors of the Tribute include: Diamond Level: Richard Caring, Lilly, Pfizer Inc, PhRMA and Ambassador Louis B. and Marjorie S. Susman. Platinum Level: Ariel Investments, Blavatnik Family Foundation, Celgene, Henry Crown & Co., Drury Hotels, GlaxoSmithKline, Christine Smith and Ben Andrews, Syzygy and William Wolfe. Gold Level: BDT Capital Partners, Richard and Lynn Blandford, Edelman, The Edgewater Funds, Robert and Diane Levy, Holly and John Madigan, Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Reyes, Peter M. Schwab and Jeannette Thornton-Schwab, Julie and Ben Simmons Foundation and Sir Martin Sorrell.

The Tribute raised critically needed funds to support the Lupus Foundation of America's mission and its comprehensive programs of research and education to fight lupus. For more information about lupus, or the Lupus Foundation of America, visit

About Lupus
Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body.  It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with and a challenge to treat.  Lupus is a cruel mystery because it is hidden from view and undefined, has a range of symptoms, strikes without warning, and has no known cause and no known cure.  Its health effects can range from a skin rash to a heart attack.  Lupus is debilitating and destructive, and can be fatal, yet research on lupus remains underfunded relative to diseases of similar scope and devastation. 

About the Lupus Foundation of America
The Lupus Foundation of America is the only national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, one of the world's cruelest, most unpredictable and devastating diseases, while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. Through a comprehensive program of research, education, and advocacy, we lead the fight to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus. Learn more about the Lupus Foundation of America at For the latest news and updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook




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SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America