On the evening of March 7, 2016, more than 830 guests attended NYU Langone Medical Center’s annual Finding A Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES) Gala, held at Pier Sixty at Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers. Over $5 million was raised at the event to support epilepsy research and the advancement of new therapies at NYU Langone. Hosting the event as Gala Chair was Harrison Ford, actor and producer.
“Tonight is an opportunity to celebrate the people who make NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center the enormously successful, patient-centered place it is,” said Robert I. Grossman, MD, the Saul J. Farber Dean and CEO of NYU Langone, in his opening remarks.
Proceeds from FACES events are used to support several research projects including the Epilepsy Diet Program and the Human Epilepsy Project that investigates why some people have a few seizures that are easily controlled with medications while others have many seizures that defy the best therapies.
Also of note was the annual live auction conducted by C. Hugh Hildesley, executive vice president of senior business development at Sotheby’s. Popular prizes included a helicopter ride and lunch with Harrison Ford, a private yacht getaway, and a Napa Valley Reserve year-long membership.
Mr. Ford chaired this year’s gala in recognition of Orrin Devinsky, MD, who helped a family member overcome epilepsy. Mr. Ford has supported FACES for epilepsy research for a decade. “Nine years ago my daughter was admitted to NYU Langone to be treated for epilepsy, and she has not had a seizure since the day she left," Mr. Ford said. "My family and I are grateful for Dr. Devinsky’s help and all the support that FACES provides for those who suffer from epilepsy and seizures.”
Dr. Devinsky, founder of FACES and director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone, thanked all in attendance, noting that FACES was instrumental in supporting the early stages of a research project that eventually became the largest study of epilepsy patients ever conducted. “The connections that you have allowed us to create are breathtaking,” said Dr. Devinsky. “We hope that these efforts will inspire new ways to study and treat epilepsy.”
Laura Gould Crandall, MA, research scientist, Department of Neurology and co-investigator of the Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) Registry and Research Collaborative at NYU Langone, was honored for her studies on Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). In 2014 Ms. Crandall partnered with Dr. Devinsky to better understand and prevent sudden unexplained death in children and to provide for a more thorough study of the issue than previously possible.
Special guests in attendance included Katie and Todd Boehly, Susan Block Casdin, Miss Universe Slovenia Anna Halozan, auction co-chairs Melisa and Josh Fluhr, Georgia Ford, Angela and Matt Stone, and FACES Gala underwriters Leah and Michael Weisberg.
Deborah (DJ) Haffeman