APR- 5/21/07 Heartworks Gala Raises $1.1 MM for NMF
Heartworks Gala Raises $1.1 Million for NMF
The NMF celebrated its most successful fundraiser to date, with its annual event, Heartworks: The Marfan Gala, raising $1.1 million. Funds raised at Heartworks, held on April 30 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York, will go directly to helping people who are affected with Marfan syndrome. It will allow the NMF to conduct its many ongoing critical activities in the coming year, including educating doctors, the emergency medicine campaign, our pediatric outreach, our information and resource center – which provides support services to as many people as need them – and our far-reaching media initiatives.
During a special Fund-A-Need call to action that night, Al and Nan Larson – parents of Rent playwright Jonathan Larson – pledged $75,000 to the NMF’s Emergency Medicine Campaign and challenged the gala audience to match their support. As a result, an additional $75,000 was raised for this life-saving campaign, which raises awareness of Marfan syndrome and aortic dissection in hospital emergency departments.
Luminaries from all walks of life in New York were on-hand as the NMF honored three individuals with a Hero with a Heart Award for their outstanding contributions to the Marfan community: Tony Award winning choreographer and actor Ann Reinking, Ben Carpenter, Vice Chair of RBS Greenwich Capital, and Dr. Antonio M. Gotto, Jr., Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
NBC-TV’s Ann Curry, master of ceremonies, urged attendees to be generous and support the NMF so that families do not have to lose a loved one to this disorder. Corporate host Karen Murray, of Liz Claiborne, also encouraged people to open their hearts for those with Marfan syndrome. Karen, whose son Michael had successful aortic surgery just two weeks prior to the gala, led the Fund-A-Need appeal, reminding guests that not everyone with Marfan syndrome is as fortunate as Michael. For those who face an emergency situation, the NMF’s Emergency Medicine Campaign can mean the difference between life and death.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Heartworks Honorary Chair for the past five years and a consistent presence at the gala, presented Ann Reinking with her Hero with a Heart Award. Mayor Bloomberg’s powerful comments demonstrate year after year that New York certainly has a heart for the Marfan community.
The financial success of the evening was due in large part to Heartworks Dinner Co-Chairs Ted Knetzger, Founder, RBS Greenwich Capital; Jay Levine, Chief Executive Officer, RBS Greenwich Capital; O. Wayne Isom, MD, Chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical Center; Sir Anthony Dowell; John Kander and Albert Stephenson. The Foundation is also grateful to the Gala Committee, co-chaired by NMF Board members Steve Crombe and Joseph R. Gagliano, Jr., for their commitment to the success of Heartworks.
In addition to the awards, there were silent and live auctions, featuring great prizes and the beautiful one-of-a kind hearts that are the signature of Heartworks. Special thanks to Tracy Fitzgerald, an NMF member from New Jersey, a talented artist in her own right, for coordinating the hearts, which were designed and created by artists throughout the country. Brad Bentoff, of Sotheby’s, graciously donated his time to lead the live auction, which was a resounding success.
The NMF is grateful to its many sponsors for their support of the gala, especially Presenting Sponsor RBS Greenwich Capital; Chairman’s Sponsor JC Penney; and Platinum Sponsors Allen & Company, the American Heart Association, AOL, Optima Fund Management, Weill Cornell Medical College and Liz Claiborne, which has supported us since the first Marfan Gala in 1998 held at the Liz Claiborne Showroom in Manhattan.
Antonio M. Gotto, Jr., MD, Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Medical College of Cornell University (pictured above with NMF President and CEO Carolyn Levering), is a world renowned authority in the field of cardiovascular medicine and a life-long supporter of educational efforts aimed at cardiovascular risk reduction. His work is critical to Marfan patients, who have overcome many of the challenges of Marfan syndrome, are living longer and now have to cope with other cardiovascular aspects of aging with Marfan syndrome.
O.Wayne Isom, MD, (pictured above) Chairman of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College and Hero with a Heart Award recipient in 2000, presented Dr. Gotto his award.
Ben Carpenter, Vice Chair, RBS Greenwich Capital (pictured above right with Ted Knetzger, Founder of RBS Greenwich Capital, who presented Ben with his award), is a long-time supporter of the NMF with an initial interest in funding for the Emergency Medicine Campaign. Ben, who has Marfan syndrome, was saved by doctors 15 years ago at Greenwich Hospital and Yale New Haven Medical Center after they recognized that he had Marfan syndrome and was suffering from an aortic dissection, and is committed to helping the NMF save others in the same way.
Ann Reinking (pictured here with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who presented her with her award), an NMF member, is mother to a 17-year-old son with Marfan syndrome. As Heartworks’ Artistic Chair since 2003, Ann has galvanized the Broadway community to support the NMF, helping to raise $4 million in the past four years. At the 2003 Marfan gala, she performed with her friend, actor Bebe Neuwirth; the following year, the cast of Chicago performed as a tribute to her. Ann has also been outspoken with the media about Marfan syndrome, raising awareness of the disorder in the general public