The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation Celebrates Innovation at Gala 2014

November 24, 2014– New York, NY – The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and the Lupus Research Institute raised $2 million at the annual Life Without Lupus Gala to support novel research that can transform patients’ lives while advancing towards prevention and a cure. Close to 600 members of the metropolitan New York’s philanthropic, government, business, art, music, society and health care communities joined to “Celebrate Innovation” in lupus research and care.

Seventeen-time Grammy-winner and beloved singer for seven decades, Tony Bennett was introduced via videotape by his collaborator and close friend Lady Gaga. She noted, “Fighting lupus is a cause very close to me, my family and to my friend, the one and only Mr. Tony Bennett.” Bennett performed such classics as “They All Laughed,” “I Left My Heart In San Francisco,” and “The Way You Look Tonight,” and his performance was met with a standing ovation befitting a performer of his immense stature and enduring popularity.

This year’s Gala Honoree Iris Cantor, Chairman and President of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, was celebrated as a trailblazer in bringing the power of philanthropy to transform medical research and care. Particularly fitting, the award was presented by Herb Pardes, M.D., retired president and chief executive and current executive vice chairman of New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s Board of Trustees. There Ms. Cantor led the creation of the Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center as well as New York’s first men’s health center. She noted, “Philanthropy and innovation go hand in hand. Through philanthropy we can accelerate the path from concept to practice.”

As Scientific Honoree, Bahija Jallal, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, AstraZeneca, Head of MedImmune was recognized for her leadership in helping the company fulfill its commitment to furthering biomedical innovation that can change the face of autoimmune treatment. “We believe great science will bring great medicine.”

As the biggest single lupus event and highly-anticipated annual fundraiser, the Gala was appropriately held at another larger-than-life New York institution, the American Museum of Natural History. New York City’s chic crowd came out to support the cause in some of fall’s best looks:

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One of the city’s beloved television personalities, NBC’s Today Show Co-host Willie Geist entertained as Master of Ceremonies for the fourth consecutive year. Opera legend Jessye Norman served as Honorary Gala Chair and Gala 2014 Dinner Chairs were: Jennie and Richard DeScherer; Anna R. Fisch; Susan Golick and Alan Wasserman, D.D.S.; Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg; Pamela and Arnold Lehman; and Bing Yao, Ph.D.

Other prominent guests included Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; philanthropists Edward and Arlyn Gardner; Joan and Arthur Sarnoff; Carol and Michael Weisman; Christina and Robert Baker; and Fox-TV political commentator Jeanine Ferris Pirro; and Miss New York 2014 Jillian Tapper.

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A live auction conducted by Sotheby’s Chairman Jamie Niven generated donations for research and services to help people with lupus now and in the future. Thanks go to Modern Luxury for providing copies of the latest issue of Manhattan Magazine.

About S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and Lupus Research Institute

Formed over 40 years ago, the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation is dedicated to advancing lupus research, patient education, advocacy and awareness. In 2000 the Foundation helped launch the Lupus Research Institute to support only bold novel research in lupus – the creativity and innovation needed to drive scientific discovery in this complex autoimmune disease. Together the organizations have generated over $185-million for cutting edge lupus research, delivering many of the most pivotal scientific breakthroughs of the past decade. Today the LRI is the world’s leading private supporter of innovative research in lupus.

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