Lupus Research Alliance 2018 Breaking Through Gala Breaks Record — Raises $3.5 Million for Lupus Research
Lupus Research Alliance 2018 Breaking Through Gala Breaks Record — Raises $3.5 Million for Lupus Research

The Lupus Research Alliance 2018 Breaking Through Gala 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.

In accepting his award, Mr. Wolfe commented, “The only way we will find better treatments for lupus, and one day a cure, is to work together in one massive and well-managed collaborative effort, investigating every avenue of hope, until we find answers.”

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.

Lady Gaga sent the lupus community a warm message on behalf of herself and her dad, Joe Germanotta:  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.”

Mr. Germanotta serves on the Lupus Research Alliance Board of Directors to help drive research that can cure the disease that took the life of his sister Joanne.

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.

The highly distinguished and hard-working group of 2018 Gala Co-chairs include: Ira Akselrad, President, The Johnson Company; Neil D. Cohen, Chairman,, CEO, District Photo Inc.;  Jay Epstien, Co-Chair, Global Real Estate Practice, DLA Piper LLP; Mark L. Joseph, Chief Commercial Officer, Transdev Group; Bruce Levenson, Co-Founder, United Communications Group; Robert W. Pittman, Chairman and CEO, iHeartMedia, Inc.; Dennis F. Ratner, CEO, Ratner Companies; and Barry Rosenthal, Partner, Rosenthal Advisory LLC.

Members of New York’s philanthropic community in attendance include: Matilda Raffa Cuomo; Jerry and Simona Chazen; Richard and Jennie DeScherer; Anna Fisch; Heidi Fiske; Sarah Friend; Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg; and Carol and Michael Weisman.

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.

Watch this video to understand why thousands of generous members of the lupus community nationwide support the innovative science funded by the Lupus Research Alliance.

About Lupus

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.

About the Lupus Research Alliance

The Lupus Research Alliance is transforming the lives of people affected with lupus by financing the most innovative lupus research in the world. The organization’s stringent peer review grant process fosters diverse scientific talent who are driving discovery toward better diagnostics, improved treatments and ultimately a cure for lupus.  Because the Lupus Research Alliance’s Board of Directors fund all administrative and fundraising costs, 100% of all donations goes to support lupus research programs.

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