New York City
- It was an honor for me to Chair the Second Annual National Meningitis Gala in New York City on Monday, April 26, having chaired with Gary Springer
last year as well. As I spoke to the crowd on the evening of the event I pondered the fact that we had nearly a full house on a rainy Monday night in Manhattan. I gazed around the beautiful room at the New York Athletic Club
, noticing familiar faces that were at our first event last year and many new faces as well. There was a general sense of camaraderie in the room. These guests could have been anywhere in the world but they chose to be with us and support our cause that there IS a shot to prevent meningitis. I am grateful to each and every one of them.
In attendance were, Honorees New York Rangers
Hockey Legend Adam Graves
, Dr. Roger Yurt
, Vice Chairman of the Department of Surgery Weill Medical College and members of the Center for Disease Control. Returning for the second year as Master of Ceremonies was beloved Richard Thomas
with his family, Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr.
our Honorary Chair, Olympic Gold Medalist and meningitis survivor Nick Springer
and Olivia Springer
, Heather Randall
, actor Joe Sirolla
, Barry Klarberg
of Monarch Management, Lenore Cooney
of Cooney/Waters Group, Rita Cosby
, Tony Award winning producers Stewart F. Lane
and Bonnie Comley
, Errol Rappaport
, Lucia Hwong Gordon
, newlyweds Cassandra Lyster Seidenfeld
and Robert Lyster
, as well as many other familiar faces.
Nick Springer presents the Nancy Ford Springer Award, in honor of his mother, to Adam Graves.
Some new faces in attendance were Steve Tanger
, the lovely super model and author Carol Alt
accompanied by Russian hockey star Alexei Yelshin
, three-time Super Bowl Champion Bart Oates
, actor Tony Plana
, Hans Amell
our corporate chair, Patrick Tremblay
and colleagues from RSM McGladrey. Honorary Chair Liv Ullmann
sent her regards as she had to be in Norway. Justin Timberlake
helped to support our cause by donating a 901 Silver Tequila Bar.
It was my pleasure to have two very important guests accompany me, my children Alana
and Justin Galloway
. They are my motivation and inspiration. My past experience as a Trauma ICU Nurse, mother, and fund raiser, along with the textbooks I have read could not have explained the devastation that meningitis causes. I learned firsthand how life altering this tragic illness is from Gary and Nick Springer. Gary, my co-chair is a dear friend; he and Nick are the reasons I became involved with this amazing organization. Nick was stricken with meningitis within four seconds of drinking from a water bottle that someone else had shared during summer camp. Meningitis moves at a rapid rate; mimicking the flu, usually taking the limbs, life or something important from its victims within hours of onset. Without a vaccine and without antibiotics the end result of meningitis is definitely death, most likely within 24 hours. This is the reason why so many of us braved the rain in New York the evening of the event. This is also the reason why I am dedicated to the mission of this cause. The more people who become educated and aware of the effects of this illness the more lives we can save.
Before attending the event I got a call from Barry Klarberg
. He said that he had just received a call from a client who's friend's son at Pace University contracted meningitis two weeks ago. That person just lost the battle and passed away. I would like to acknowledge those loved ones and their families who have lost the battle to meningitis. Our founder, Lynn Bozof
and her husband lost their son Evan many years ago. Evan is Lynn's motivation for fighting the battle against meningitis every day through this organization.
I would also like to acknowledge that there are many courageous families, like the Springer family, who have managed to battle this deadly disease and pick up the torch to help us forge ahead in the fight to stop meningitis.
These families are my heroes.
To learn more about the National Meningitis Association go to www.nmaus.org.