Gary Springer, Kamie Crawford and Lynn Bozof. (Steve Mack/S.D. Mack Pictures)
New York City - The New York Athletic Club with its sweeping views of Central Park was the elegant setting for the Third Annual Give Kids a Shot!, National Meningitis Association Gala. Honorary Co-Chairs Ambassador John L. Loeb and Para-Olympic Gold Medalist Nick Springer, a survivor himself of the dreaded disease joined by Gala Co-Chairs Gary Springer and Sara Herbert Galloway and NMA Board membersLynn Bozof, Lori Buherv and Leslie Maier welcomed several hundred supporters for a festive evening with a very serious purpose: to raise public awareness of the fact that meningitis is a vaccine preventable disease and to honor a group of individuals who have worked on behalf of the issue.
From the outset, the event was marked by a wonderful sense of family, love and common purpose. The evening began with cocktails and a silent auction luxury organized by Matt Klarberg and Errol Rappaport that included artwork such as a Sunflower" photograph by Henry Buhl and original paintings by David Rappaport; Broadway tickets to "Miss Abigail's Guide to Dating, Mating, and Marriage: The Awesome 80s Prom" and "Avenue Q;" A Day of Beauty -Federico Hair Salon; NYC Helicopter Tour for Two; beauty packages, one-of-a-kind experiences and luxury items, among many other spectacular items. With the night being so mild, many guests took the opportunity to stroll with friends on the Club's grand terrace overlooking the park.
Following cocktails, guests moved on to the grand ballroom where Master of Ceremonies two-time Tony Award winner James Naughton took to the stage and delighted everyone with a set that ran from Broadway to country and even a little Elvis in between.
This year's honorees were Bart and Michelle Oates, New York Giants Football Legend & Advocates for Pediatric Medical Research, who received NMA's, Children's Advocacy Award; James C. Turner, M.D. Professor of Internal Medicine, University of Virginia NMA's Health Achievement Award; iconic actor Richard Thomas NMA's Nancy Ford Springer Inspiration Award for his long standing support of NMA and pianist Chau-GiangThi Nguyen (Chosan Nguyen) NMA's International Ambassador for Education Through Music Award.
During the 1990s, there was a significant increase in the number of adolescents and young adults killed or disabled by meningococcal meningitis; young people who were seemingly healthy, vibrant and often athletic. Most of the families were unaware of a vaccine that could have saved their children's lives or anguish.
The National Meningitis Association (NMA), a non-profit organization, was formed in 2002 by parents whose children were killed or disabled by meningitis. Since then, NMA has created educational programs that reach millions of people each year with information about available immunizations and disease symptoms and thoughtful, comprehensive support programs for families devastated by the ravages of the disease.
This signature fundraising event will help NMA continue and expand its vital work in the fight against meningitis. If you would like to be part of the fight against meningitis go to www.nmaus.org.