Lupus Advocates and Corporate Leaders Honored at Annual Evening of Hope Gala
Lupus Foundation of America Celebrates Event’s 10th Anniversary
The Lupus Foundation of America celebrated 10 years of its Evening of Hope Gala in New York City on October 28, welcoming hundreds of leaders, lupus advocates and community members to the special event. This year, the Foundation was pleased to honor Tom Kingsbury, Executive Chairman of the Board, Burlington Stores, Inc.; Ron Rocca, president and CEO, Exagen Inc. (Nasdaq: XGN); and Jody and Conrad Gehrmann for their support and work in the mission to end lupus.
The event was emceed by stand-up comedian Hunter Hill and entertainment was provided by actress Stephanie J. Block and actor Sebastian Arcelus. The program looked back at the last decade of lupus research accomplishments. Milestones that were highlighted included the approval of the only drug specifically developed and approved for the treatment of lupus by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as the establishment of the Lupus Research Program at the Department of Defense, which to-date has received more than $15 million in funding. Additionally, the event featured a special video highlighting the hope for the future with notable Foundation supported lupus researchers discussing promising research studies underway.
“Each year, our Evening of Hope Gala is such an inspiring and powerful event. We gather together to honor leaders who work tirelessly to advance lupus research, awareness and support,” shared Stevan W. Gibson, president and CEO, Lupus Foundation of America.“As we celebrate 10 years of this event, we not only looked back at the research accomplishments of the past decade, but we looked forward at what the future holds. There has never been a more hopeful time in lupus research, and we are thrilled to be working with leading scientists and pharmaceutical and biotech companies worldwide to help develop better treatments and get closer to a cure.”
This year, the National Corporate Leadership Award was presented to Tom Kingsbury, Executive Chairman of the Board, Burlington Stores, Inc. Their support has helped the Lupus Foundation of America make a significant difference in the fight to end lupus – Burlington is a founding supporter of the stem cell clinical trial for lupus in the United States.
Ron Rocca, President and CEO, Exagen Inc., was presented the National Research and Innovation Award, in recognition for his tireless efforts as a leader in the life sciences industry and Exagen’s ongoing commitment to reducing the time to diagnosis for people with lupus through its AVISE® CTD test. Exagen’s scientists harnessed technology that was discovered in part through a grant from the Lupus Foundation of America and now use that to aid physicians in the diagnosis, prognosis, monitoring, and therapeutic optimization of lupus and other autoimmune diseases.
Additionally, the Foundation presented The Barlin Award to Jody and Conrad Gehrmann for their ongoing and unwavering involvement both at a national and local level with the Pacific Northwest region for 20 years. Jody and Conrad have also generously supported Foundation events and research efforts, helping to raise lupus awareness and move research forward.
Special guests included actor Kazy Tauginas, star of Dolemite is My Name, and best-selling author, recording artist and photographer, Julian Lennon. Lennon also serves as the Foundation’s Global Ambassador and has been steadfast in his commitment to raising awareness and funds for lupus research for more than ten years.
This event wouldn’t be possible without the help of the Executive Leadership Committee, Michael Linn, Chief Operating Officer, Varadero Capital, L.P.; Tim Nolan, Executive Creative Director Marketing, History, Lifetime and A&E; Barbara Polk, Chief Human Resources Officer, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Stephen Rabinowitz, New York Managing Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP; and Rudy Villamar, Business Director, Outdoor Sportsman Group.
The Foundation thanks its generous supporters and sponsors including Diamond Sponsors Burlington Stores, Inc. and Exagen Inc.; and Platinum Sponsors Greenberg Traurig, LLP and Pfizer, Inc.. Each year, the National Gala raises critically needed funds to advance the Foundation’s mission and its comprehensive programs of research, education and advocacy.