Lupus Research Alliance Gala Raises $2 Million for Research to Transform Treatment
Lupus Research Alliance Gala Raises $2 Million for Research to Transform Treatment

New York, NY. November 21, 2023 – This year’s Lupus Research Alliance (LRA) Breaking Through Gala raised $2 million for lupus research and brought the hope of tremendous progress that’s improving lupus treatment while driving to a cure.  The annual celebration began with a powerhouse performance and moving tribute to lupus warriors by multi-talented pianist, composer, producer, and Sony Music recording artist Chloe Flower.  Emmy Award-winning TV Host and Executive Producer, Tamron Hall, brought her refreshing and relatable voice to emcee the night’s program with warmth and compassion.

“Lupus is a complex autoimmune disease that can take years to get diagnosed and disproportionately affects women of color in prevalence and severity. People close to me have been significantly impacted by this disease.  Being here to help raise awareness and funds for the finest research is how we can best help improve the lives of people with lupus,” explained Hall.

LRA President and CEO Albert T. Roy commented, “The power of everyone united in this room to fund cutting-edge research is what will bring the many individualized treatments the community so urgently needs and deserves. With you at our side, the researchers LRA funds are advancing quickly to deliver the breakthroughs that will allow people with lupus to be the best version of themselves.”

Philanthropist and Honorary Gala Co-Chair Michael R. Bloomberg addressed the audience with a special videotaped message of support for the organization and the community it serves.

A star of the event, the iconic Empire State Building, brightened the city Sunday night, highlighting the importance of lupus research by lighting up NYC’s skyline in the colors of lupus research awareness – purple and red.

Special Supporters Recognized for Contributions

As LRA Board Co-Chair and Gala Co-Chair, President of The Johnson Company, Ira Akselrad welcomed the crowd of hundreds and thanked the other 2023 Gala Co-Chairs for all their support including:  H. Rodgin Cohen, Senior Chair, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP; Jennifer A. Dakin, Managing Director of Wells Fargo Bank NA; Richard K. DeScherer, LRA Board Chairman and Director Emeritus, Bloomberg L.P.; Bryan T. Kelly, MD, MBA, President and CEO, Hospital for Special Surgery; and William J. Wolfe, Chairman of First Washington Realty, Inc.


David Kies Honored for Turning Devotion to his Daughter into Dedication to a Cause

Hundreds in the room and online turned out to recognize this year’s honorees — LRA Board member David Kies, formerly of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and his wife Kate, as well as Louis A. Shapiro, Advisor, Past President & CEO of Hospital for Special Surgery.

In introducing her dad, Laura Kies Gever noted that, “he would go to the ends of the earth to make my life better.” Gever shared that he had flown to Italy to bring her to Hospital for Special Surgery straight from the airport when she first fell ill.

“I believe that helping the LRA fund innovative research is the most effective way I can ensure the best future for Laura and the millions like her struggling with the effects of lupus every day of their lives,” commented Mr. Kies.

Louis A. Shapiro Named 2023 Honoree

Roy introduced Lou Shapiro, thanking him for his 17 years of commitment to people with lupus. “Under Lou’s leadership, the Hospital for Special Surgery was a model partner to the LRA, providing the finest care and being responsible for breakthroughs that have made a major difference in lupus treatment.”

The audience was both moved and inspired when LRA Young Leaders Board Executive Committee and Scientific Advisory Board member, Nancy Mize Gonzalez spoke about how she switched careers when lupus took away her dream of being a concert pianist to become the kind of doctor who can give patients the answers she struggled to find when first diagnosed.

Speakers also applauded all the people in the room and at home who have shown what ManyOne Can accomplish for lupus research together – those who fundraise, those who advocate, those who educate, and those who participate.

About Lupus
Lupus  is a chronic, complex autoimmune disease that affects millions of people worldwide. More than 90 percent of people with lupus are women, often striking during the childbearing years of 15-45. Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans are at two to three times greater risk than Caucasians for developing lupus. In lupus, the immune system, meant to defend against infections, produces antibodies that mistakenly recognize the body’s own cells as foreign, prompting other immune cells to attack and potentially damage organs such as the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, blood, skin, and joints.

About the Lupus Research Alliance
The Lupus Research Alliance is the largest non-governmental, non-profit funder of lupus research worldwide. The organization aims to transform treatment by funding the most innovative lupus research, fostering diverse scientific talent, and driving discovery toward better diagnostics, improved treatments and ultimately a cure for lupus. Because the Lupus Research Alliance’s Board of Directors funds all administrative and fundraising costs, 100% of all donations goes to support lupus research programs.  For more information, please visit the LRA at and on social media at:  X, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Together, ManyOne Can make a difference!