On the evening of March 6, 2017, more than 700 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. Nearly $5 million was raised at the event to support epilepsy research and the advancement of new therapies at NYU Langone. Hosting the event was David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, who served as the evening’s emcee.
Donna Emma and Lawrence Davis chaired this year’s gala in recognition of Orrin Devinsky, MD, professor of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry, founder of FACES, and director of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.
“The FACES Gala is the world’s largest fundraiser to advance epilepsy research and care,” said Dr. Devinsky. “The funds raised have supported an unprecedented number of basic and clinical science collaborations that have contributed to the discovery of new epilepsy genes and new epilepsy therapies.” He thanked all in attendance, noting that since 1995 FACES has supported hundreds of research initiatives that have led to important changes in the field.
Proceeds from FACES events are used to support several patient and educational programs, as well as a diverse range of research projects including new drug development, the genetics of epilepsy, sudden unexplained death in epilepsy, and many more.
Also of note was the annual live auction conducted by C. Hugh Hildesley, vice chairman at Sotheby’s America. Popular prizes included a 7-night stay for 2 in Italy, tickets to the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, an exclusive 20-course, in-home dinner with famed chef Daisuke Nakazawa, and tickets to the 2017 Grammy Awards.
Majid Jafar, CEO of Crescent Petroleum, and his wife, Lynn Jafar, were honored for their research efforts towards finding a cure for a rare genetic disorder called CDKL5, as well as better treatments for children who have epileptic seizures and other chronic conditions. As co-founders of the Loulou Foundation, they have supported the important research of over 60 scientists at leading universities in the United States and Europe, with a total of 14 separate projects in 25 labs at 20 different institutions to date.
Special guests in attendance included Ellen Block, Susie Block Casdin, Katie and Todd Boehly, Ulrika and Joel Citron, auction co-chairs Melissa and Josh Fluhr, Loretta Glucksman, Trudy Elbaum Gottesman and Bob Gottesman, Jackie Harris, Bill Lambert, Sukey and Michael Novogratz, Colleen Olson, Kate Picco, Angela and Matt Stone, and FACES Gala underwriters Leah and Michael Weisberg.