On November 19th, 2018, my husband and I attended the Lupus Research Alliance 2018 Breaking Through Gala. This year the Alliance honored Board member William J. Wolfe, Chairman and CEO of First Washington Realty, Inc. for his instrumental role in uniting the lupus community to an unparalleled global research enterprise. With the generous support of 650 attendees, the evening raised over $3.5 million specifically for lupus research.
Mr. Wolfe has been a leader in advancing lupus research to improve treatment since his daughter Jacqueline Wolfe Maggi was diagnosed many years ago.
Honorary Co-chairs who helped make this the world’s largest single lupus fundraising event include the Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg, Selena Gomez, and Lady Gaga. Bloomberg sent a short but warm video message. Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga could not be there in person. Lady Gaga sent a message on behalf of her father and herself for the people attending the gala:
“While we would have very much liked to be with you this evening to honor Bill Wolfe and the work of the Lupus Research Alliance, the fires in Southern California which are threatening so many homes preclude us from attending. While we are not with you in person, we are very much with you in spirit. Working together, we can find that cure.”
The evening started out with eleven-year old Miah Andrade, herself an emerging voice in the lupus community, addressed the audience, sharing her own experience with lupus and how meeting Selena Gomez at the 2017 Lupus Research Alliance Gala impacted her life.
Celebrated trumpeter Brian Newman opened the program in jazzy style, while Broadway star and Tony Award Nominee Norm Lewis concluded with moving songs about perseverance and friendship. Willie Geist, Host of Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist and Co-Host, Morning Joe, emceed the Gala, delighting guests with his humor and sincerity. Lupus Research Alliance Co-Chairman Richard K. DeScherer, Chief Legal & Compliance Officer, Bloomberg L.P. hosted the evening.
Adding to the excitement of the night, New York’s iconic Empire State Building lit up purple and red to help the Lupus Research Alliance raise awareness of the disease and the importance of scientific research.
Lupus is a chronic, complex autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide. More than 90% of people with lupus are women, most of whom are diagnosed between the ages of 15 to 44. Women of color are especially at risk. In lupus, the immune system, which is designed to protect against infection, creates antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues and organs — the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, blood, skin, and joints.
The Lupus Research Alliance is transforming the lives of people affected with lupus by financing the most innovative lupus research in the world. I love how this cause is bringing all of the research together to better and more quickly find better solutions for people affected by lupus. One of the reasons why I always support this cause.
Photos via theLupus Research Alliance