WASHINGTON, May 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --GRAMMY® award-winner Rita Coolidgeperformed at the Lupus Foundation of America's (LFA) National Butterfly Gala in Washington, DC to a crowd of 600 celebrating a new era that offers hope for an improved quality of life for people living with lupus.
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110511/DC99958-b )
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110511/DC99958-c )
Long-time LFA supporter Eduardo Xol from ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, served as Master of Ceremonies for The Butterfly Gala, which paid tribute to pioneers for the lupus community, including: U.S. Senator Thad Cochran; Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director, National Institutes of Health (NIH); and Roch Doliveux, Chief Executive Officer of the biopharma company, UCB. The honorees were recognized for their leadership and significant contributions to advancing the science and medicine of lupus, developing new treatments, and raising awareness of the disease.
"It is a new day for lupus," said Sandra C. Raymond, President and CEO of the Lupus Foundation of America. "Recently, we have seen historic progress in lupus, and it is appropriate that on World Lupus Day we celebrate our achievements, as well as our shared vision and hope for the future of all people living with lupus around the world."
Five LFA Youth Ambassadors from across the country, ranging in ages from 14 to 20, who have demonstrated leadership and passion for raising awareness of lupus, shared compelling personal stories and their hopes of a better future for people with lupus. The Youth Ambassadors also joined LFA leaders in presenting awards to the 2011 Butterfly Gala honorees. The Youth Ambassadors were: Jillian Bante (MI), Samyria Harris (MD), Anna Mirabello (CT), Jon Tyme (FL), and Rachel Rabinowitz (NY).
Special guests included U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye (HI) and Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (AL) and Dr. Annette Shelby, and U.S. Representative John D. Dingell (MI) and Mrs. Debbie Dingell served as co-chairs of the LFA's Butterfly Gala Honorary Congressional Committee.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system is unbalanced, causing inflammation and tissue damage to virtually any organ in the body. Lupus can be unpredictable and potentially fatal, yet no satisfactory treatment exists. An estimated 1.5 million Americans and at least five million people worldwide have a form of lupus. Its health effects include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, miscarriages, and organ failure.
About the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA)
The LFA is the nation's foremost nonprofit health organization dedicated to finding the causes of and cure for lupus, and providing support, services, and hope to all people affected by lupus. The LFA and its network of chapters, branches, and support groups conduct programs of research, education, and advocacy.
SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America
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