Gala for “FACES” at NYU Langone Raises $4.5 Million

SNL’s Seth Meyers served as emcee; Leon Charney Honored; former patient and author Susannah Cahalan served as guest speaker for event to benefit clinical and research advances, education and awareness of epilepsy

More than $4.5 million dollars were raised at the Finding A Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES) Gala, held on Tuesday, March 5th at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, in support of epilepsy initiatives at NYU Langone Medical Center.  More than 750 guests attended the event where funds raised will provide for life-enhancing programs in cutting-edge research, clinical care, education and awareness programs, and community building events.

FACES, affiliated with NYU Langone and its Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, funds research to improve epilepsy care, advances new therapies, and fosters a supportive community for children, families and caregivers who live with the challenges of epilepsy. 

“The mission of FACES is to improve the quality of life for all those affected by epilepsy and seizures,” said Orrin Devinsky, MD, professor of neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry and director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone Medical Center and founder of FACES. “But ultimately, our goal is to find a cure.  The generous support provided by all of you in attendance tonight will help get us closer and closer to finding the cure.”

Special guests in attendance included: Leah and Michael Weisberg; Loretta Brennan Glucksman; Katie and Todd Boehly; Ginny and Steven Spiegel; Alice Thorpe and Amy Pollner Moritz; Melissa Mathison and Georgia Ford; Bill Lambert; Kate Cooney Picco; Randi and Jeffrey Levine; Mary Quick Pedersen; Harry and Claudia Falk; Carol and Sheldon Pressler; Carolyn and Steven Kotler; Barbara and Joe Walsh; Warren Lammert; Veronica Mainetti; Susan and David Swinghamer; Cookie and David Fishel; Marc Mayer; Francia and James Shaw; and Anna and Jim Fantaci.

Dr. Devinsky and Robert I. Grossman, MD, dean and CEO of NYU Langone Medical Center, welcomed and thanked the guests before turning the night’s events over to this year’s Master of Ceremonies, Seth Meyers, the head writer, actor and comedian on NBC’s Saturday Night Live.  Many of FACES key supporters were recognized, including Gala Chairs Leon and Tzili Charney, who are regarded as pillars of business and philanthropic communities – with Mr. Charney also the serving as the evening’s Honoree, and Leah and Michael Weisberg for generously underwriting  the event.  Additionally, guest speaker and author Susannah Cahalan spoke of her months long experience with autoimmune encephalitis and care by Dr. Souhel Najjar at NYU Langone, which became the basis of her now best-selling book, “Brain on Fire.” 

One of the evening’s highlights was the silent auction of 350 items – including high end electronics, vacation packages and jewelry – which was an event in itself, raising $300,000 toward the evening’s success. The evening concluded with the annual live auction – which is one of largest held in New York – chaired by Roger Erickson, Senior Managing Director and Associate Broker for Sotheby’s International Realty, who was joined by guest auctioneer Jamie Ritchie, CEO and President of Americas and Asia, Sotheby’s Wine Department.