NYU Langone Health raised $5.6 million at its annual Finding A Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES) Gala to fund epilepsy research and the advancement of new therapies. Held on March 5, 2018, at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers, longtime FACES supporters Sukey and Mike Novogratz chaired this year’s gala. Mike Novogratz also serves as a trustee at NYU Langone.
“I look forward to this gala every year, as a vivid reminder of why those of us in medical science and clinical care do what we do,” said Richard Tsien, PhD, as he opened the ceremony. “We are tireless in our efforts to better understand epilepsy and to give everyone we treat the best care imaginable. At NYU Langone Health, we take on hundreds of thousands of patients—and every single one of them honors us with their courage. They put their lives in our hands—or, even more incredibly, the lives and futures of their children.”
Deborah and Bill Harlan were honored at the event for their contributions to epilepsy research over the past 15 years. “With the generous support of Deborah and Bill Harlan, FACES has contributed to hundreds of research initiatives that have led to important changes in the field,” said Orrin Devinsky, MD, professor of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry, founder of FACES, and director of NYU Langone’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. “We are excited to honor and celebrate them tonight to show our appreciation for the time, energy, and philanthropic support they provide for our Comprehensive Epilepsy Center and FACES programs.” A personal video message from actor Robert Redford was shown at the event, highlighting his commitment to the FACES mission and recognizing the Harlans. The evening also featured Orange is the New Black and Unsolved actor Michael Harney as the special guest speaker, sharing his firsthand experience working with Dr. Devinsky and unwavering support of the FACES programs.
Also of note was the annual live auction conducted by C. Hugh Hildesley, executive vice president at Sotheby’s America. Popular prizes included a private yacht getaway for 12, a set visit to Orange is the New Black, a walk-on role on Billions, a Harlan Estate getaway in Napa Valley, a private dinner and shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue, and an LA Dodgers experience. Danielle and Tom Walker, and Allyson and Andrew Wiener served as auction co-chairs.
Leah and Michael Weisberg served as the FACES Gala underwriters. Special guests in attendance included Susan Block Casdin, Colleen and Tagar Olson, Katie and Todd Boehly, Anna and Jim Fantaci, Angela Howard and Matt Stone, Bill Lambert, Xiaohong Sang and Warren Lammert, Randi and Jeffrey Levine, Amy Pollner Moritz and Peter Schnall, Kate Cooney Picco, Mary Quick, and Ginny and Steven Spiegel.
Proceeds from FACES events are used to create and maintain several patient and educational programs, as well as a diverse range of research projects including new drug development, the genetics of epilepsy, and sudden unexplained death in epilepsy.