Oct. 09, 2013

Leaders in Research and Awareness Honored at the Lupus Foundation of America’s 2013 National Gala

WASHINGTON-  Norah O’Donnell, Co-Anchor CBS This Morning; Dr. William Haseltine, Founder, Human Genome Sciences, Inc; and Pfizer Inc. were honored for their outstanding efforts to fight lupus and end its devastating impact on millions of families during the Lupus Foundation of America’s National Gala in New York City, on October 8th. 

The event opened with a powerful performance by Grammy® award-winning artist Macy Gray, which brought the crowd to their feet.  Author and journalist Lee Woodruff served as master of ceremonies.  The evening also featured moving video testimonials from individuals with lupus and family members, including U. S. Women’s Soccer player and Olympic gold medalist Shannon Boxx, and long-time supporter and Lupus Foundation of America Awareness Activist, Kelly Jean Drury, reinforcing the urgent need for increased awareness and an expanded research effort. 

Emmy® award-winning journalist Norah O’Donnell received the 2013 National Women’s Empowerment Award for her ongoing commitment and efforts to champion women’s health issues. The National Corporate Leadership Award was presented to Pfizer Inc, for the company’s pioneering lupus research and efforts to increase access to affordable care and treatment to medically underserved populations. Laurie Olson, Executive Vice President of Strategy, Portfolio and Commercial Operations, accepted the award on Pfizer’s behalf.

Dr. William Haseltine was presented with the National Leadership Award for Scientific and Medical Advancement, for his innovative research and  business leadership that led to the development of the first new drug developed for lupus in nearly 60 years, and the first drug ever developed specifically for the disease.  In addition to being a recognized scientist and business leader, Dr. Haseltine founded two philanthropic organizations that focus on access to affordable and high quality health services in low-income countries and fostering dialog between the sciences and the arts.

“We are honored to celebrate the many achievements of these true heroes and champions for the lupus community,” said Sandra C. Raymond, President and CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America. “Lupus is a complex disease with many challenges from late diagnosis, to low public awareness, to a lack of safe and effective treatments. We need the continued support of these leaders, as well as our many valued supporters in the room this evening, if we are to overcome these challenges and solve the cruel mystery of lupus. ”

The Lupus Foundation of America’s National Gala is an Evening of Hope honoring outstanding individuals who have been champions for those living with lupus and their families. The Gala raises critically needed funds to support the Foundation’s mission and its comprehensive programs of research, education, and advocacy.

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