New York fashion leaders and trendsetters came out to support the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation's 5th Annual New York Bag Ladies Luncheon. Over 300 people attended the luncheon on April 11th at The Plaza Hotel and raised over $300,000 for the foundation. The fashion industry donated over 150 handbags from 50 top designer brands, including Chanel, Hermes, and Stella McCartney. Attendees placed bids on the bags through a silent auctions, the proceeds from the bids then went toward the foundation's mission of funding Lupus research and helping patients.
"Like many in this room, I have been involved in this marvelous fundraising luncheon since its inception. I am here each year on behalf of all the magnificent women with lupus who wage an unimaginable battle against this devastating disease affecting not only the bodies of women, but as often, their spirits," stated opera legend Jessye Norman.
At the event Deborah McKeever, the President and COO of Executive Health Exams International, was recognized for helping to spread awareness of lupus through her Rockefeller Center Window Campaign. "Our goal is to help groups build awareness of diseases like lupus that are not very well-known but warrant public attention," she explained.
Lupus is a serious and difficult to diagnose autoimmune disease that impacts more than 1.5 million Americans, and 9 out of 10 are women with the illness. Lupus creates antibodies within the immune system that attacks a person's organs and cells. The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation was established over 40 years ago and provides patient services, educational programs, public awareness, and funding for lupus research.
"We thank everyone here today and every designer who generously donated handbags holding so much promise for lupus patients," stated Executive Director Margaret Dowd.