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 CEO 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.”
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. LFA made this announcement today, Oct. 12.
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.
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.
In the picture above: Deborah Roberts, Al Roker and Gayle King attend the 2011 Lupus Foundation of America‘s Butterfly Gala in New York City.