Lupus Handbag Luncheon Supports Science in Style
Lupus Handbag Luncheon Supports Science in Style

They showed style. They showed grace. But more important, attendees of the 8th Annual Lupus Handbag Luncheon and Silent Auction showed awe for Women of Achievement honorees Claudia Cividino and Alison Lee.

Alison began battling lupus as a teenager. She worked in marketing for the beauty industry until, after enduring a lupus-related kidney transplant and cancer triggered by the transplant drugs, she realized that her health had become her full-time job.

With her cancer gone and her lupus at bay, she is deeply grateful and reflective. “I’m recognizing that achievement comes in different forms,” Alison says. “I may not have built a career or have a fancy title, but I’ve fought and I’m continuing to fight a battle against lupus.”

Our second Woman of Achievement, Claudia Cividino, oversees operations in the U.S., Canada, and South America for Bally, the 165-year-old Swiss luxury brand for footwear, fashion, and accessories.

Claudia, an active lupus advocate, revealed at the luncheon what she had never shared with her colleagues— she too suffers from lupus.

“Thanks go to the Lupus Research Alliance for creating a place where people with lupus go for hope,” Claudia says, “the hope that lies in the innovative research that will deliver better, safer treatments, and a way to cure and even prevent this disease.”

Held at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on April 4, 2017, the event was chaired by Andrea Abrams, Founder of fashion and retail services consultancy firm Abrams Global. Matilda Raffa Cuomo, Former First Lady of New York State and Founder/Chair of Mentoring USA; opera legend Jessye Norman; and Brett Heyman, founder/designer for the home and fashion company, Edie Parker, served as Honorary Chairs.

And in her role as Mistress of Ceremonies, Emmy- winning TV newscaster, Brenda Blackmon, touched guests with a personal account of her own daughter’s struggle with lupus.

Nearly 300 prominent women and men from New York’s fashion, society, entertainment, philanthropic, and lupus communities raised crucial funds for lupus research — inspired in no small part by a silent auction of designer handbags.

With such a tour de force, defeating lupus is in the bag!

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