The Global Lyme Alliance (GLA) held its (sold out) 5th Annual Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dinner beginning at 6 PM on Thursday, October 10, 2019. Lyme disease is an illness caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which results in a systemic multi-staged illness.
Rosanna Scotto, the emcee of the evening, looked smashing in a sequined pantsuit. She recalled there are more than 427,000 people diagnosed in the US each year as it continues to be one of the fastest-growing infectious diseases in the country.
The most at-risk group for the illness are children under the age of 15, adults over 50, and outdoor workers. Some prominent sufferers include Yolanda Hadid and her two children Bella and Anwar, Avril Lavigne, and Marisol Thomas (rocker Rob Thomas’s wife.)
Tonight, there were a host of luminaries, including Dr. Mehmet Oz, Yolanda Hadid, and the Real Housewives of New Jersey, who came to help find a cure to eradicate this scourge. This dinner is a wake-up call for me every year.
David Nolan, who is Vice Chairman of Millennium Partners, spoke about the pain three of his family members experienced after contracting Lyme. I bumped into Alexandra and Dr. Bernard Shayes, who similarly recounted three of their family members being stricken after summering in the Hamptons. Remember when Yolanda Hadid was ridiculed by her castmates on the Real Housewives who accused her of having Munchausen? Often, women complaining of debilitating headaches, insomnia, and memory loss are doubted.
A macho man experiencing the same skepticism from peers was shocking. What was even more astounding was that Bob developed the illness by playing golf in New Jersey. Bob said, altering his diet by eliminating sugar and carbohydrates helped his recovery while admitting his longing for sugary desserts. Kelly emotionally thanked his wife, Karen, for saving his life.
The paradigm of healthy living, Dr. Oz, told me the most effective way for curing the disease was high doses of antibiotics immediately-along with nutritional supplementation. Oz looked regal in his black suit and tie along with other splendidly dressed women in gowns and sequins.
The 800-person crowd was oohing and aahing over the decor of party planner Larry Scott who donated his time and resources to decorate the ballroom and 73 tables. Larry is a celebrity in his own right with his long hair and tall stature, making him the darling of the social set. He grew up with an Italian mother and Jewish father, so his love for food and family is undeniable.
The evening contained a juggler, entertainment by Santino Fontana, and an exciting live auction featuring a weekend with the legendary golfer Jimmy Walker. It received two bids of $35,000 each.
While guests were huddling in the ballroom to share their stories of woe, I ran into Dan and Heather Kerning. They described contracting the disease two years ago in the Hamptons at roughly the same time. Wendy Leone similarly spoke of her misery until she removed six of her root canal teeth and replenished herself with vitamins.
By the end of the evening, more than $2.5 million was raised – a pivotal step in the fight to eradicate this affliction.