2008 Life Without Lupus® Gala

S.L.E. Lupus Foundation Gala Celebrates Families United for a Cure

Mayor Bloomberg, South Pacific Star Kelli O’Hara, and CBS broadcaster Charles Osgood Pay Tribute

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation in honoring families dedicated to the fight against lupus at the organization’s “Life Without Lupus®” gala on Thursday, November 20, 2008.

The nation’s largest annual benefit for lupus, the gala at Times Square’s Marriott Marquis raised millions of dollars for patient services, community outreach, and research to find better treatments and a cure for the systemic autoimmune disease. More than 1.5 million Americans have lupus.

South Pacific star Kelli O'Hara and New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

Legendary CBS broadcaster Charles Osgood emceed the evening’s program, which featured a stirring performance from three-time Tony nominee and star of Lincoln Center’s South Pacific, Kelli O’Hara.

“This is the time,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Every dollar brings us closer to conquering this disease…I have no doubt we will find a cure for lupus very soon.”

The Foundation presented the annual Corporate Leadership Award to Genentech, one of the world’s leading biotech companies, in honor of its commitment and progress in research to find safer and more effective therapies for people with lupus.

Dr. Andrew C. Chan, Genetech’s Senior Vice President: Immunology and Antibody Engineering

In recognizing the dedication of two families in particular to the lupus cause—the Paradysz Family of Mill Neck, New York and the Selkowitz family of Stamford, Connecticut—the gala celebrated the contribution of all families to finding a cure, raising awareness, and caring for people with the disease. 

With her parents and two siblings on stage beside her, Allie Paradysz, who was diagnosed with lupus in 2002 at age 12, said “chances are you know someone with lupus, or you know someone who knows someone. And if you don’t, you do now.”

Gala 2008 honorees Allie, Dani, Nico, Angie and Chris Paradysz

Allie’s father Chris Paradysz, a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, aims to raise awareness and funds for lupus through a potentially record-breaking “Ride for a Life Without Lupus®” bicycle ride in April 2009. Learn more at www.lifewithoutlupus.org.

The Selkowitz family of four was honored for their exceptional dedication to the lupus cause on both coasts. Adam now chairs the Foundation’s West Coast division. His parents, Betsey and Arty Selkowitz, serve in national leadership positions. Brother Jed is a lupus volunteer and advocate in Atlanta.

Gala 2008 honorees Adam, Betsey, Arty and Jed Selkowitz

“We’ve all lived with my lupus,” said Adam. “We’ve all had to listen to the doctors, wait for the test results, learn about the side effects of the medications and deal with the realities of the disease.”

“Life Without Lupus®” Video