It was a wonderful evening filled with hope, and a lot of glitz, at the Time For Lyme Gala on Saturday evening, April 2, at the Hyatt in Old Greenwich.
Lyme disease has become one of the fastest growing epidemics in the nation. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 300,000 new cases in the U.S. each year. Lyme Research Alliance (LRA) and Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA), two of the most influential voices on Lyme and tick-borne disease, have merged to become Global Lyme Alliance.
Together, they form a leading tick-borne disease organization, allowing for greater resources to be applied to research on urgently needed improvements in diagnostic and treatments, while expanding awareness programs for the general public and physicians.
Brian A. Fallon, M.D.,M.P.H., director of the Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center at Columbia University Medical Center received the Lauren F. Brooks Hope Award at the gala from the Global Lyme Alliance. He is extremely enthusiastic about the diagnostic, treatment and neuro-imaging studies that Columbia is conducting. He offers,”I am equally excited about the research my colleagues around the country are conducting. This is a time of exponential progress.”
Marla Maples was an honored guest, beaming in a glittery gold dress, as she mingled with the crowds. Maples was happy to share her battle with Lyme Disease, and calls herself a quiet warrior. “I am a lucky one. Others suffer daily with chronic symptoms,” she said. “I try to boost my immune system the best I can.”
Maples contracted Lyme disease at the age of 22 while in Guatemala and the Peace Corps. Her purpose with the alliance, as a survivor, is help others with the disease, and to lend her belief of importance of the mind-body spirit connection.
“Private sector findings so important to our cause and understanding Lyme. These funds will help improve testing and treatments,” says Harriet Kotsoris, M.D. – Time For lyme Medical Director.
“I am very excited. This is a great evening for Greenwich with a terrific turnout of many passionate people,” Robert Kobre, GLA chairman said. ” We are making good progress, every year we are getting closer and closer to a developing a test for Lyme.. and making promising advances therapeutically.”
Dr. Susan Eisen has also become a Lyme Advocate working in the diagnosing and support of chronic Lyme patients, several years ago she developed acute Lyme disease. She has created Tick tock Naturals, a line of organic ingredient insect repellent sprays to keep you and your family bug free. As I smelled her product (all who attended received a sample), she beamed, “all natural ingredients… with an essence of zesty lemongrass.”
Many fabulous, elaborate silent auction items were offered, such as; Lunch with Marla Maples, private dance lesson with Tony Dovolani (her Dancing with the Stars partner), 2 club tickets to New York Giants first game of the season, and 4 VIP tickets to the Dr. Oz Show. The live and silent auction has raised over $240,000 and the final dollars brought in are still pending – how fabulous!
The ballroom was dressed up to compliment the guests with elegant cream hanging lanterns, live spring blossoming branches and bold blue lighting.
“While we were pleased to receive so many solid applications from talented scientists this year, it underscores the fact that only 17 percent of grant applications receive funding from the government these days,” said Harriet Kotsoris, M.D.
The Lyme community must combine forces to bring about the massive increase in research investment through private and government sources, that will be needed to make Lyme and other tick-borne diseases (TBD’s) both preventable and curable.