Researchers and Advocates Honored for Pioneering Efforts to End Lupus
Aurinia Pharmaceuticals and Dr. Richard and Michelle Glickman; the Schwab family and Piper Jaffray; and Stephen, Lisa and Shea Evans were recognized for their trailblazing work to put an end to the devastating impact lupus has on millions of families during the Lupus Foundation of America’s (Foundation) National Gala in New York City on October 11.
Lupus is a life-long autoimmune disease that can impact any organ. There is only one drug specifically developed for lupus, and many of the current treatments have been used for decades. Youth advocates living with lupus ranging in ages from 9 to 12 shared their experiences with lupus and hopes for the future, underscoring the urgent need for new treatments and cures for all those impacted by lupus.
Lupus Foundation of America Global Ambassador Julian Lennon and Whoopi Goldberg welcomed guests and opened the program for the evening. The program also highlighted the current landscape of lupus research and raised funds for a ground breaking research study using stem cells as a potential new therapy for the treatment of lupus. This is the first-of-its-kind study in the United States and marks a major milestone in lupus research.
Brooke Baldwin, Anchor at CNN Newsroom; and Dorothy Toran, National Ambassador at the Foundation and Executive in Charge of Production at Sirens Media, served as Co-Masters of Ceremonies.
“We are incredibly pleased to be celebrating the work of our honorees who are propelling lupus research forward and increasing understanding of the disease,” said Sandra C. Raymond, CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America. “These honorees provide hope for a future and further ignite our determination to put an end to the cruel mystery that is lupus.”
Aurinia Pharmaceuticals and Dr. Richard and Michelle Glickman received the National Corporate Visionary Award. Founded by founded by Dr. Glickman, Dr. Neil Solomons (Chief Medical Officer) and Michael Martin (Chief Operating Officer), Aurinia is currently developing a treatment for lupus nephritis that could drastically improve lives for lupus patients everywhere. Richard and Michelle have been staunch supporters of the Foundation working to bring greater attention to the disease and help raise the profile of lupus to encourage greater public and private investments in life-saving research.
“I am thrilled to accept this award and be honored alongside my wife Michelle and Aurinia,” said Dr. Glickman. “Lupus is a disease important to me and my wife professionally and personally and I am proud of the progress Aurinia is making to contribute to the understanding and treatment of the disease.”
Peter Schwab, his wife, Jeannette Thornton-Schwab and Piper Jaffray received The National Research Leadership Award. Peter Schwab has served on the Foundation’s National Board of Directors in multiple roles for the Foundation for 15 years, most recently as Immediate Past Chair. They have made significant contributions to the Foundation over the years and continue to work to bring greater attention and awareness to lupus in order to increase the understanding of the disease. Peter’s employer, Piper Jaffray, has had a long standing commitment to his work with the Foundation and is a leader in corporate philanthropy.
“I have been able to witness firsthand the work the Lupus Foundation of America does and how it helps the multitudes of men, women and children who are suffering from lupus,” said Peter Schwab. “With the public’s help, the Foundation can continue to support cutting-edge research, raise the profile of lupus, and encourage greater public and private investments in life-saving research, education, and advocacy and support services.”
The Foundation presented the Barlin Family Award for National Advocacy to Stephen, Lisa and Shea Evans. The Evans family has raised more than $500,000 to ensure funding for research and support for people with lupus and their families.
“We are halfway to our personal goal of raising $1 million for lupus research and education programs and we will not rest until we get there. And when we get there, we will re-set the clock and begin again until we find a way to put an end to this cruel disease, too many people like my daughter are counting on all of us,” said Stephen Evans.
Special guest, Ian Harding, star of Pretty Little Liars and the 2016 recipient of the Barlin Award, was in attendance and presented the award to the Evans family alongside Wayne and Judith Barlin. The award was established by the Barlin family in honor of their son, Michael Jon Barlin who passed away from lupus at the age of 24.
The program closed with a performance by Mike DelGuidice celebrating the music of Billy Joel. DelGuidice is one of Long Island’s most celebrated performers and has been performing to sold out audiences throughout the United States for 27 years.
The Foundation thanks its generous supporters and sponsors including: Burlington Stores, Pfizer Inc., Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, Greenberg Traurig LLP and Piper Jaffray. The Gala raises critically needed funds to advance the Foundation’s mission and its comprehensive programs of research, education, and advocacy. To learn more or make a donation, visit http://www.lupus.org/gala