Last night 780 guests attended the Finding A Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES) Gala, held at Pier Sixty at Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers. Over $4.7 million was raised at the event to support epilepsy research and the advancement of new therapies at NYU Langone Medical Center. Hosting the event was Mike Myers, world-famous actor, comedian, screenwriter, and film producer who is best known for his appearances on Saturday Night Live, and for his roles in the Austin Powers and Shrek films.
A portion of the proceeds from FACES events will be used to support the funding of two outstanding research projects and fellows, each mentored by a preeminent scientist. The first project will use viral and molecular biology techniques to create a switch in a very specific group of interneurons, the cells that shut off seizures, so that these cells can be turned on with a specific drug. The second will dissect and analyze the spread of seizure rhythms so they can be stopped in their tracks.
“We believe these research projects hold tremendous promise, and is why we so deeply appreciate the time, energy and philanthropic support our generous donors bring to our Comprehensive Epilepsy Center and FACES programs,” said Robert I. Grossman, MD, the Saul J. Farber dean and CEO of NYU Langone, in his opening remarks.
During the ceremony, Jacqueline French, MD, professor of neurology, was honored for her influence on the development of new epilepsy therapies, and Mary Quick was honored for her dedication to helping families who are living with the challenges that epilepsy brings. Additionally Leah and Michael Weisberg were recognized for generously underwriting the event. Also celebrated were gala chairs Angela and Matt Stone, co-creator of South Park and co-writer of The Book of Mormon, and auction chair Barbara Walsh, an advocate for individuals living with epilepsy.
Orrin Devinsky, MD, founder of FACES, professor of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry, and director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at NYU Langone, highlighted current research by Tanya Spruill, PhD, assistant professor of population health and medicine at the Center for Healthful Behavior Change at NYU Langone, who is developing interventions to reduce the socioeconomic gap in epilepsy care.
Program highlights included a speech made by one of his patients Margaret Pedersen, who is the daughter of honoree Mary Quick. Also of note was the annual live auction–one of the largest held in New York–conducted by auctioneer Hugh Hildesley, executive vice president of senior business development at Sotheby’s. Popular prizes included a private dinner for 12 prepared by Chef Nick Anderer of restaurants Maialino and Marta; tickets to the Billboard Music Awards, including access to the pre- and post-party; dinner at Rao’s restaurant; and vacation packages to the exclusive Eden Rock Resort in St. Barths and Tortuga Bay Resort in Punta Cana.
Special guests in attendance included: Kelly Myers, Loretta Brennan Glucksman and Kate Cooney Picco, Amy Pollner Moritz, Randi and Jeff Levine, Donna Emma, Warren Lammert, Lucas van Praag, Susan and David Swinghamer, Veronica Mainetti, Brian Friedman, Suzanne Peck, Lori and Stewart Karger, Carolyn Kotler, Katie and Todd Boehly, Alice Thorpe, and Tzili and Leon Charney.
Deborah (DJ) Haffeman
Senior Public Relations Specialist