WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Leaders from fashion, entertainment, and media were among the nearly 700 guests who stepped up to support the millions of individuals around the world affected by lupus during the second annual Lupus Foundation of America's (LFA) Butterfly Gala in New York City. The LFA recognized: Stephen I. Sadove, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Saks Fifth Avenue, and Natalie Morales, NBC News Anchor, "Today" and Co-host, Third Hour, for their leadership and dedication to increasing public awareness of lupus.
GRAMMY®-nominated recording artist, Oleta Adams, opened the program and brought the crowd to their feet with her powerful rendition of "New York State of Mind." Oleta also moved the audience by sharing that she has been living with lupus for 10 years.
"Lupus has affected every area of my life, and it was very empowering for me to share my personal story," said Oleta Adams. "I want people to have a greater awareness and understanding of lupus. We need to bring attention to this disease to further research and the development of new treatments for individuals with lupus. "
Stephen I. Sadove, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Saks Fifth Avenue was recognized for Saks' long-standing partnership with the LFA, and the company's financial support, which has helped the LFA expand its reach and capacity to serve the lupus community. Natalie Morales, NBC News Anchor, "Today" and Co-host, Third Hour was honored for her personal interest in, and NBC's focus on, increasing public awareness of issues touching the lives of women and children.
During the program, musician and LFA Global Ambassador Julian Lennon joined the LFA in presenting the first Lucy Vodden Research Grant Award to Hermine Brunner, M.D., associate professor of pediatric rheumatology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Dr. Brunner is a pioneer in the study of childhood pediatric lupus, and the grant will fund research to validate a Quality of Life tool for children with lupus.
ABC News Correspondent Deborah Roberts served as the Master of Ceremonies and Gayle King, talk show host and editor-at-large, O, The Oprah Magazine, served as the award presenter to Mr. Sadove. Other special guests included: Al Roker, NBC "Today"; Phylicia Rashad actress; Whoopi Goldberg, actress and co host, ABC "The View"; designer; Ippolita Rostagno, designer; and Eric Javits, designer.
The LFA New York City Butterfly Gala is the companion event to the LFA's National Butterfly Gala held each year in Washington, DC. The Butterfly Galas raise the profile of lupus, generate critically important LFA program funding, and encourage greater public and private investments in life-saving research, education, advocacy, and support services.
Lupus is an unpredictable and potentially fatal autoimmune disease in which the immune system is out of balance, causing inflammation and tissue damage to any organ system in the body. The health effects of lupus include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, miscarriages and organ failure. An estimated 1.5 million Americans and at least five million people worldwide have a form of lupus. For more information, visit www.lupus.org.
About the LFA
The LFA is the foremost national nonprofit health organization dedicated to finding the causes of and cure for lupus, and providing support, services, and hope to all people affected by lupus. The LFA and its national network of chapters, branches, and support groups conduct programs of research, education, and advocacy.
SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America