Matilda Raffa Cuomo, former First Lady of New York State;
Margaret Dowd, executive director of
S.L.E. Lupus Foundation,
and president/CEO of Lupus Research Institute; and Dr.
Margaret I. Cuomo,
of North Shore University
Michele Gadsden-Williams, Jessye Norman, Tim Gunn and Desiree
Anna Fisch, restaurant investor
and Bag Ladies Luncheon
and Rebecca Gold,
125 stunning designer bags on display
Bag Ladies Of The Plaza
Rally To Fight
ICHELLE Gadsden-Williams had a personal message at the
S.L.E. Lupus Foundation Bag Ladies Luncheon in April at the
Plaza Hotel in New York. The managing director and global head
of diversity and inclusion at Credit Suisse said, "For anyone
who’s been diagnosed with lupus or any other chronic disease,
find the meaning behind whatever it is you are going through.
Sometimes things happened for a purpose. Since my diagnosis, I
have recognized that I am here to promote education and
awareness of this disease and use my story as an example."
To which opera diva Jessye Norman
replied, "It’s a pleasure to attend this luncheon and see the
power of women helping women."
"Living with lupus takes strength,"
said Dr. Lisa R. Sammaritano, associate attending
physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery and professor of
clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Lupus is a chronic disease that
affects 1.5 million Americans, primarily young women of color.
Only one new drug has been approved in 50 years. The luncheon,
under the direction of Margaret Dowd, executive director of the
foundation, featured a silent auction of stylish handbags
donated by such designers as Betsey Johnson, Prada, Valentino
and MarcJacobs. The event raised more than $350,000 for the
S.L.E. Lupus Foundation, which provides direct patient support
and public awareness as well as funding innovative lupus
Tim Gunn, Emmy winning of
Project Runway, who served as emcee, presented Woman of
Achievement Awards to Gadsden-Williams, Dr. Sammaritano, and
Project Runway co-creator Desiree Gruber.
"The Bag Ladies Luncheon," Gruber
said, "is the perfect opportunity for the fashion industry to
support the very women they serve on a daily basis." Gruber was
accompanied by her husband Kyle MacLachlan, well-known
for his TV roles in Sex and the City and Desperate
Melany Hearne Martins, founder and
chief investment officer at Exantas Capital, chaired the
luncheon. Among the trend-setting guests were Anne Keating,
senior vice president of public relations, special events and
corporate philanthropy at Bloomingdale’s; Danielle DiFernando,
founder of Danielle Nicole Handbags; Mary Belle,
president/licensing at The Jones Group which represents such
iconic lifestyle brands as Anne Klein, Jones New York and Nine
West; and philanthropists Phyllis Mack, Denise Wohl and
Lady Va Maughan.