Raising Awareness of Lupus Research

Friday, November 24, 2017

On Monday, November 20, the Lupus Research Alliance celebrated the 2017 Breaking through Lupus Gala, raising $3.2 million to fund lupus research programs.

The gala featured a keynote speech by musician and lupus sufferer Selena Gomez, who served as honor co-chair of the Lupus Research Alliance Gala with Michael Bloomberg, the largest single lupus fundraiser in the world. Noticeably shaken up, Gomez talked about her recent kidney transplant, which was necessary to save her life.

The annual gala sheds a spotlight on breakthroughs from the previous years, and the importance of lupus research to deliver discoveries to come. With the support of nearly 700 attendees, all money raised went directly to fund lupus research programs. An autoimmune disease, lupus creates antibodies that attack the body’s own tissues and organs—the kidneys, brain, heart, lungs, blood, skin, and joints.

NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke was recognized as the 2017 Gala honoree for his strong dedication to corporate responsibility and innovation. “NBCUniversal is honored to support those affected by lupus worldwide with a contribution of $1 million to fund the best in scientific study through the Lupus Research Alliance,” he said. 

Also serving as gala co-chairs were Brian Roberts, Chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation; Ron Meyer, Vice Chairman, NBCUniversal and Lorne Michaels, Creator and Executive Producer, Saturday Night Live. In addition, Seth Meyers, host of NBC-TV Late Night, emceed, delighting guests with his signature sharp humor. Lupus Research Alliance Co-Chairmen Ira Akselrad, President, The Johnson Company and Richard K. DeScherer, Chief Legal & Compliance Officer, Bloomberg L.P. also co-hosted the evening.

The Gala also honored Lupus Research Alliance Immediate Past Co-President and Co-CEO Margaret G. Dowd for over 20 years of dedication to advancing lupus research. DeScherer noted, “Peggy was one of America’s pioneers in novel lupus research, not as a scientist but as an inspirational spark, fostering talent and embracing innovation.” 

The evening ended with a performance by Tony-award winning Kelli O’Hara. Having just earned rave reviews as the lead in Brigadoon, Tony-award winning O’Hara brought new life to such Broadway favorites as I Could Have Danced All Night and I Have Dreamed.  She noted a personal connection to lupus and sang You’ll Never Walk Alone as a reminder that working together, “you’re never alone”.


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