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Audra McDonald Performs at AMNH's Life Without Lupus Gala 2012 Today

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More than 700 members of New York City's philanthropic, business and health care communities will join forces at the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation Life Without Lupus Gala 2012 today, November 19, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at The American Museum of Natural History. Aptly named "Turning Lupus Research Upside Down," this year's black tie gala, hosted by Willie Geist, NBC-TV talk show host, is expected to raise over $2 million to support the most innovative research.

Noted philanthropists and LRI leaders, Fern and Lenard Tessler will be honored for their dedicated commitment to advancing lupus research for over a decade. The Tessler's are among our most active proponents, working on behalf of two women with lupus they love, their niece GillIan Kaye and close friend Carol Weisman.

Henry Hess, MD, EMD Serono (a subsidiary of Merck KGaA), will be presented with the Foundation's Scientific Leadership Award. A live auction conducted by noted auctioneer Jennifer Wright of Christie's will allow participants to support specific cutting-edge studies at many renowned institutions.

In keeping with the stature of the event, guests will be treated to a performance by Audra McDonald, 2012 Tony Award winner named Best Actress in a Musical for her starring role in Gershwin's classic Porgy and Bess. New to the lupus cause, Audra is no newcomer to the world's greatest stages, with a career spanning theatre, television, recording studios and concert halls. The evening will include a cocktail hour, dinner, and an award presentation. Governor Mario Cuomo and Mrs. Matilda Cuomo are among the many political, social and philanthropic leaders expected to attend.

The Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg serves as Honorary Dinner Chair. This year's Dinner Chairs are: Jennie & Richard DeScherer; Susan Golick & Alan Wasserman; Ronnie & Michael Kassan; Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg & Senator Frank R. Lautenberg; Andrea & Jeff Lomasky; Lisa & Mark Neporent; Linda & Seth Plattus; Beth & Alan Waldenberg; and Carol & Michael Weisman.

American Museum of Natural History entrance is located at Central Park West at 79th Street, New York. The gala takes place today, November 19, 2011, 6:30 p.m.: Cocktails, 7:30 p.m.- 10:00 p.m.: Program and Performance.

The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation is the country's preeminent organization delivering direct patient services, public education and novel research at a national level. Founded 40 years ago in New York City by lupus patients and their families as the first nonprofit to serve the lupus community, it remains the cornerstone of comprehensive care in all five boroughs in the continuous battle for a Life Without Lupus.

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