Here is the bad news first: As of October 12, 2017, there is no cure for Lyme Disease. According to the Global Lyme Alliance, 200 children are diagnosed with Lyme disease every day. However, the Connecticut-based Global Lyme Alliance is working to make statistics like that a thing of the past.
At the Global Lyme Alliance’s New York City Gala 2017, the focus of the evening was on the positive developments meant in finding that needed cure. Presented by producer Larry Scott of Lawrence Scott Events, this event was full of both star power and the people working to find that cure. A true multimedia experience, the gala was simultaneously entertaining, enlightening, emotional, and inspiring.
First to speak at the gala was Fox newscaster and master of ceremonies Rosanna Scotto. But before Scotto took the stage, highlights from a cause-relevant episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm was screened. Scotto continued the evening with optimism, even though she noted that the cause of finding a cure for Lyme disease is currently underfunded. The next person to appear on-stage was Yolanda Hadid. Hadid, the author of the recent memoir, Believe Me, spoke of the journey of her daughter, Bella, who has Lyme disease. Generously, Hadid gifted a copy of her book to everyone at in attendance.
— Global Lyme Alliance (@LymeAlliance) October 12, 2017
Following Hadid was a GLA-commissioned video which demonstrated the courage it takes to live with Lyme Disease. Following the video was Credit Suisse executive and GLA chairman, Robert Kobre. Kobre talked about people close to him who were affected by the disease, then the wonderful advancements being made thanks to seed capital allotted to the cause by Credit Suisse and partners. After Kobre spoke, another GLA-helmed video followed as featuring the journeys of UFC fighter Jim Miller and singer/songwriter Jesse Ruben.
Global Lyme Association CEO Scott Santarella was next on the microphone, talking more about what “Team GLA” was up to. As noted by Santarella, Lyme Disease is a global issue and can found in all 50 states of the U.S., yet fewer than a dozen countries are known to contribute monetarily to the cause. Richard Baker, Executive Chairman of the Hudson Bay’s Company, followed Santarella at the podium. Baker eloquently echoed the sentiments of Santarella before introducing a video package for honoree Joseph Abboud.
After that introductory video package about Abboud, the first honoree of the evening, the acclaimed designer discussed the journey of his wife Lynn, a sufferer of Lyme Disease, who, like many, was initially misdiagnosed. Abboud was followed by Ally Hilfiger, who has been afflicted with the disease since the age of seven. Hilfiger’s emotional speech gave a nod to another person affected by Lyme Disease, legendary rock musician Bryan Adams — who was in attendance — before talking about what having the disease feels like on a daily basis.
— Hawtcelebs (@Hawtcelebs) October 12, 2017
Singer — and Global Lyme Alliance co-chair — Rob Thomas spoke next. He lightened the mood before talking about the journey of his wife, the gala’s second honoree, Marisol Thomas. Thomas explained how Marisol’s life has changed due to the disease. Marisol echoed this, explaining her decision to go public about her suffering. Ultimately, she noted that she often lives by the mantra of “J.S.S.” — which stands for “just survive somehow” — and how the love of family (especially husband Rob) and friends keep her going. This speech showed a caring side to the Matchbox Twenty frontman that few have ever heard about.
Next was an auction led by Jason Lamoreaux. An effective auctioneer, Lamoreaux raised over $250,000 from attendee donations within 10 minutes. Astonishingly, this was accomplished without Lamoreaux ever announcing a single item. Plenty more money flowed in for the GLA cause when one-of-a-kind experiences — like Joseph Abboud designing suits for the highest bidder — were announced. Rosanna Scotto contributed to the auction portion of the gala, again helping to keep the evening fast-paced and graceful.
Post-auction, Chris Daughtry took the stage for a solo-acoustic performance. Daughtry opened with his hit “Home,” before noting his admiration of the Global Lyme Alliance and how Rob Thomas got him onboard with the cause. Thomas took the stage after Daughtry, playing a mix of solo and Matchbox Twenty favorites, as backed by an acoustic trio. To say the least, the audience was kept entertained by these intimate performances.
Kudos go to GLA co-chair and Lawrence Scott Events for producing this event, and for the Lawlor Media Group in getting the good word out. More information on the cause can be found at www.globallymealliance.org.
[Featured Image by Matt Stammel]