Fighting Lyme for a Free World: My Time at the Global Lyme Alliance Gala Event

Date: 12/13/2023

Want an insider scoop into one of the coolest fundraising events known to the Lyme community? Follow along with my experience at the GLA’s 8th Annual Gala below!

When you find your people, the power is strong–and though it is a common illness which draws together many of the incredible souls I met at the Global Lyme Alliance’s recent 8th Annual Gala Event, the power we each get from being in connection with others who understand our journey is beyond palpable. 

In fact, it is the power of being in community with other Lyme sufferers that has motivated me to keep spreading awareness about the disease, particularly the sheer impact that the proper treatment can have on the lives of more than 400K people diagnosed with Lyme in the US every year! So enjoy this short ride, dear reader, as I share with you the deep feelings of gratitude and inspiration I gained from my night surrounded by strong men and women at GLA’s gala event in New York City! 

What is the Global Lyme Alliance?

Quickly, the Global Lyme Alliance (or the GLA) is the United States’ leading non-profit organization completely dedicated to conquering Lyme and other tick-borne diseases by spreading awareness and connecting patients with the right doctors and treatment plans. Indeed, with the money the organization collects through donations, research initiatives, grants, and fundraising events like the gala I attended this past fall, the GLA’s goal is to cure Lyme and other chronic illnesses through innovative research, awareness, and most importantly, through empowering patients to tell their story. 

That’s what the gala and fundraising events and campaigns are all about, after all! I mean, just look at this great campaign from the GLA created in collaboration with Chris Meloni, a celebrity we all know from countless films and the Law & Order television series who also suffers with Lyme. The alliance’s commitment to spreading awareness is so thorough that I even had the pleasure of listening to Chris’ story first-hand during the gala event. 

Global Lyme Alliance: 8th Annual Gala Event in NYC

This year, I managed to travel more than I thought I ever would again. It seems extremely fitting, then, that I would fly to my old stomping grounds in NYC to attend a gala promoting treatment for the disease that almost destroyed my will to live! 

Picture this: strolling along downtown Manhattan on a cool autumn evening, only to be greeted by a true marvel of Italian renaissance architecture and decor while walking through the doors of Cipriani on 42nd Street: 

And although the grandeur of the space could make anyone feel deeply underdressed, I felt completely at home in my own bright, renaissance-inspired, floor-length gown in bright green, paired with yellow, sunshiny accessories.

And you should have seen us all there, dear reader, laughing, and connecting, and crying over our personal and shared struggles, echoing through the powerful voices and stories coming to us from up on stage. Certainly, our individual losses were soothed as we heard from so many who have overcome chronic suffering thanks to treatments like those researched through the GLA. Not to mention the scrumptious feast of food, cocktails, and entertainment from Pia Toscano and Erich Bergen kept our attitudes up throughout the night! 

Still, we were all aware of the elephant in the room: that so much more needs to be done, researched, and developed. With every tear-jerker speech, a new understanding of how far we still need to go to find a cure for Lyme came to light. And while the fundraising auction was a great success, raising about $1.85M for treatment research (I even won a trip to Napa!), the stories of struggle and suffering nevertheless hung thickly in the air about us. 

Thankfully, we had (and have) each other to count on. We Lyme sufferers are so often misunderstood, and are labeled as crazy…or worse, that finding a place among peers who do understand has left its own special imprint in my heart. I certainly plan to take this feeling with me, and am still processing the sheer amount of support each of us has access to, should we decide to look!

So, to any Lyme sufferers out there, or to those who are newly diagnosed, I want to let you know that none of us are alone. We have a big, supportive community, and there is great work being done on the front lines of innovation, research, and education when it comes to combating Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses. I know I’ll continue to do my small share to draw even more attention to the cause–and would be overjoyed to hear you doing the same. Whether that means sharing this article, talking about Lyme symptoms and treatment, taking Lyme diagnoses seriously, or just donating to the Global Lyme Alliance, anything you can do will help! 

So with that, and until next time, I’ll leave you with all my love,