Photo Flash: NMA's 'Give Kids a Shot' Gala Honors Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch
The National Meningitis Association (Lynn Bozof, President) honored New England Patriot and Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch with the Nancy Ford Springer Award. An inspiration and advocate, Branch's son Deiondre contracted Meningitis at an early age, and despite being able to walk or talk, is a teenage survivor and the true inspiration for Deion to raise awareness for the disease. Carl Buher and Michael Laforgia were recognized with NMA's T.E.A.M. Outstanding Service Awards both survivors and advocates and Dr. Paul Lee, MD is an infectious disease specialist and advocate, was awarded the Health Achievement Award at their annual "Give Kids a Shot!" Gala at The Pierre Hotel. Former NMA Honoree and Chair of Infectious Disease at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Paul A. Offit was the evening's Master of Ceremonies. Scroll down for photos from the event!
Health Achievement Award Recipient Dr. Paul Lee, MD explained: "In 2008 a MOM's meeting helped me to find my voice and work with many people regarding meningitis. He closed his speech by shouting loud and clear "CHILDREN NEED VACCINATIONS!"
"I will try to make sure that I am here every year. I will take this award and put it above my son's bed because he is the true hero." Nancy Ford Springer Award recipient, Deion Branch
"I want to say thank you to everyone here tonight for lending your support to all of us who are fighting to make sure no one else is damaged by this horrible disease." - NMA T.E.A.M. Outstanding Service Award recipient, Carl Buher.
"Meningococcal disease changed my life forever. It's a devastating and vicious disease. It takes our healthy loved ones, without warning and before we have time to help. I speak so they can be heard." - NMA T.E.A.M. Outstanding Service Award recipient, Michael LaForgia
This year's event chairs include Lenore Cooney, Sara Herbert-Galloway, Errol Rappaport and Gary Springer and Honorary Chairs include: Ambassador and Mrs. John L. Loeb, Jr., Liv Ullmann and Donald Saunders and Nick Springer.
Along with survivors, advocates and their families the event attendees also include Meningitis survivor and Para Olympic Gold Medalist Nick Springer, celebrated NY Ranger and Hall of Fame Hockey player Rod Gilbert; performer/composer Paul Hampton(wrote the song "Is this a Child I could have saved?" for the NMA), novelist Carol Higgins Clark, actor/ producer Joseph Sirola,famed photographer Robert Farber, NMA Vice-Chair Barry Klarberg, NMA Teen Health Ambassador Alana Galloway, Dr. Richard Firshein, Dr. Steven Schutzer, Jennifer Lynn Miss New Jersey 2014 and Heather Randall. Dell Miller, Lucia Hwong-Gordon, Paul Lountzis. The evening including a night of dinner and dancing, with entertainment provided by musical guests, actor and singer, Darius De Haas currently featured in Broadway's Shuffle Along and musician and bandleader Tito Puente, Jr.
The National Meningitis Association (NMA) works to protect families from the devastating effects of meningococcal disease by educating the public, medical professionals and others about the disease and vaccines available to prevent it. NMA was formed in 2002 by parents whose children died or live with permanent disabilities from meningococcal disease. Like many families, NMA's founders were unaware that meningococcal disease vaccination could have prevented their anguish. Since NMA was founded, great strides have been made in meningitis prevention. NMA has supported the creation of broad recommendations for meningococcal vaccines to protect all preteens and teens, worked to advocate for state vaccination requirements and helped increase awareness and vaccine uptake. The organization also provides emotional support for individuals and families who have experienced meningococcal disease. To accomplish its goals, NMA develops programs and resources that reach audiences on national and grassroots levels. Parents, disease survivors and other family members help carry out NMA's mission by conducting community awareness activities across the country through two key programs: Moms on Meningitis (M.O.M.s) and Together Educating About Meningitis (T.E.A.M.). For disease and prevention information, downloadable resources and personal stories from M.O.M.s and T.E.A.M. members, visit www.nmaus.org.
Photo Credit: Kari Otero
Sarah Herbert-Galloway and NMA Youth Ambassador Lana Galloway
Sarah Herbert-Galloway, Errol Rappaport and Carol Higgins Clark
Sarah Herbert-Galloway with Paul Hampton
Sarah Herbert-Galloway and Barry Klarberg
Paul Lee, MD, and guests
NMA Honorees Deion Branch, Carl Buher and Paul Lee, MD
NMA Honorees Deion Branch and Carl Buher
NMA Honoree Deion Branch and Sarah Herbert-Galloway
NMA Honoree Deion Branch and NMA President Lynn Bozof
NMA Health Achievement Award Winner Paul Lee, MD
NMA Health Achievement Award Winner Paul Lee, MD, with family
Deion Branch, NMA President Lynn Bozof and guest
NMA Chair Errol Rappaport, Margareta Arvidsson, Robert Farber and Paul Lountzis
Deion Branch and guests
Michael Laforgia (Outstanding Service Award Winner) and his family
Elizabeth Cier and Gary Springer
Dell Miller and guests
Carl Buher and family
Tito Puente Jr.
Sarah Herbert-Galloway and Robert Farber
Jim Luce and Sarah Herbert-Galloway
Lynn Bozof, Carl Buher and guests
Luciah Wong-Gordon and guests