The S.L.E Lupus Foundation and the Lupus Research Institute held their annual Life Without Lupus Gala at the iconic American Museum of Natural History in the Upper West Side. Over 600 guests in varied industries sipped cocktails and nibbled on hors d’oeuvres in the presence of tremendous dinosaur skeletons.
In the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, NBC’s Today Show co-host Willie Geist hosted the evening while a large whale hung overhead. Iris Cantor, Chairman and President of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, was this year’s gala honoree. When giving her acceptance speech, she shared, “Philanthropy and innovation go hand in hand. Through philanthropy we can accelerate the path from concept to practice.” Scientific Honoree, Bahija Jallal, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of MedImmune at AstraZeneca, was recognized for helping her company fulfill its commitment to furthering research that can change the face of autoimmune treatment. “We believe great science will bring great medicine.”
Other well known guests included Former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg; philanthropists Edward and Arlyn Gardner; Joan and Arthur Sarnoff; Carol and Michael Weisman; Christina and Robert Baker; Fox-TV political commentator Jeanine Ferris Pirro; and Miss New York 2014 Jillian Tapper. The event raised two million dollars for the cause, and a good chunk of that was due to Sotheby’s Chairman, Jamie Niven.
Also in attendance, opera legend Jessye Norman, who served as Honorary Gala Chair. The 2014 Gala 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.
Seventeen time Grammy winner, Tony Bennett, closed out the event, showcasing what an legendary and timeless talent he is. He was introduced via video by Lady Gaga, who he had just completed an album with. Bennett entertained patrons with songs like, “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Smile” and “Fly Me to the Moon,” which the latter he sang without a microphone and the entire crowd was silent. Attendees left knowing what a magical evening they had just witnessed.
To donate to this worthy cause, volunteer, or to learn about the advancements of this foundation over the past 40 years, please visit http://www.lupusny.org/.
– Stephanie Carino
Photos courtesy of the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation and Lupus Research Institute and by Stephanie Carino