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Black Tie International:
Lyme Gala 2018
Bill Ford and Marigay Ford
Bill and Marigay Ford

Bay Area Lyme Foundation and Project Lyme Join Forces

to Fight Lyme Disease at the 2018 Lyme Gala


Event Raises Awareness, an d$1.4 Million for Research Related to Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illnesses, which can potentially be disabling, and even life-threatening


New York, NY, November 6, 2018 – Bay Area Lyme Foundation and Project Lyme,two organizations committed to halting the course of Lyme disease, came together to highlight the need for collaboration in the fight against Lyme during the inaugural 2018 Lyme Gala.The collaboration aims to improve awareness, education and research of Lyme and other tick-borne infections, which can potentially be disabling, and even life-threatening. With Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s expertise in working with scientists and institutions to implement valuable research, develop impactful educational programs and create novel initiatives such as the Lyme Disease Biobank, and Project Lyme’s focus on increasing awareness and improving education, these organizations hope to one day make Lyme and other tick-borne diseases easy to diagnose and simple to cure.


“Lyme disease is the most important health crisis of our time,” said 2018 Lyme Gala honoree, Bill Ford, CEO, General Atlantic. “This disease demands that we recruit and fund the best medical minds to fund a cure, and I am hopeful of the effortsof Project Lyme and Bay Area Lyme Foundation toward this goal.”


Keynote speaker Neil Spector, MD, an oncologist at Duke University School of Medicine and author, helped to reinforce the devastating impact of Lyme disease through sharing his personal story of suffering from heart failure due to Lyme disease. His experience with Lyme disease has led Dr. Spector to conduct Lyme disease research using models originally developed to unravel the mysteries of cancer. 


“Lyme disease is challenging to diagnose and impossible to cure for many Americans with currently available therapies, and we need more research to understand how to best battle tick-borne diseases,” said Dr. Spector, who received a heart transplant due to infection of his heart from Lyme bacteria. “Clinicians need to support one another, researchers need to exchange information and more organizations like these need to come together to make this critical research possible.”


Multiple Bay Area Lyme Foundation research projectsand Project Lymeawareness and educational initiativeswill be supported by funds raised at the Lyme Gala.Among the attendees at this years’ event were renowned researchers and clinicians who are on the front lines fighting the battle against Lyme disease on a daily basis, including Richard Horowitz, MD and Steven Phillips, MD, both of whom have received funding from the Bay Area Lyme Foundation to research novel therapeutics aimed at more effectively eliminating stealth tick-borne disease infections. 


Andy Borowitz, creator of the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and a New York Times-bestselling author, was MC for the event, and had the crowd laughing all night. Heexpressed gratitude to gala attendees forjoining the fight against Lyme and helping to bring hope to those who are currently suffering, and helping keep those who are at risk safe through their support.


Sony singer-songwriter Dana Parish, who has Lyme, performed for the guests, along with The Janes Life, whose vocals were heard on America’s Got Talent and The Voice. 


Many of the events’ attendees have Lyme disease, or support a loved one with the illness, including 2018 Lyme Gala event chair Jennifer Weis, co-chairs Dee and Tommy Hilfiger, Alisa and Dan Doctoroff, and Moshe Sukenik, television personalityYolanda Hadid. Isabel Rose, Laure Woods, Dana Farrington, David Roth and MarlyGraubard also serve on the committee.

Event sponsors included:Cahill Gordon &Reindel, Cooley Law LLP, First Republic Bank, General Atlantic Foundation, Jefferies Financial, Newmarket Knight, Oak Hill Advisors, Sage Foundation, Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, Whittier Trust.


About Lyme Disease

One of the most common infectious diseases in the country, Lyme disease is a potentially disabling infection caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected tick to people and pets. If caught early, most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated, but it is commonly misdiagnosed due to lack of awareness and unreliable diagnostic tests. There are about 329,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, according to statistics released in 2015 by the CDC. As a result of the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, as many as one million Americans may be suffering from the impact of its debilitating long-term symptoms and complications, according to Bay Area Lyme Foundation estimates.


About Bay Area Lyme Foundation

Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a national organization committed to making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, is the leading public not-for-profit sponsor of innovative Lyme disease research in the US. A 501c3 non-profit organization based in Silicon Valley, Bay Area Lyme collaborates with world-class scientists and institutions to accelerate medical breakthroughs for Lyme disease. It is also dedicated to providing reliable, fact-based information so that prevention and the importance of early treatment are common knowledge. A pivotal donation from The Laurel Foundation covers all overhead costs and allows for 100% of all donor contributions to Bay Area Lyme Foundation to go directly to research and prevention programs. For more information about Lyme disease or to get involved, visit or call us at 650-530-2439.


About Project Lyme

Project Lyme’s mission is to eradicate the epidemic of tick-borne diseases through awareness and education, support of cutting-edge science, and advocacy for solutions to end the suffering. Project Lyme is a global 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and early diagnosis of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. For more information you can visit




Joyce Brooks and Gerard Mc Keon.  Photo by:  Rose Billings /

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