SOURCE: S.L.E. Lupus Foundation

S.L.E. Lupus Foundation

May 05, 2010 11:51 ET

Hundreds of 'New York Bag Ladies' at Elegant Luncheon Raise Funds and Awareness for Lupus

"Real Housewives of New York City's" Jill Zarin and Tony Winner Joanna Gleason Rally to the Cause

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - May 5, 2010) -  The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation's 2nd annual "New York Bag Ladies Luncheon" drew a crowd of 250 women to the elegant 583 Park Avenue on Manhattan's Upper East Side yesterday to bid on designer, celebrity, vintage, and other handbags, and to mark 40 years of the organization's fight against the chronic autoimmune disease, systemic lupus.

The luncheon was hosted by the feisty Jill Zarin of Bravo's The Real Housewives of New York City, whose daughter has arthritis, and headlined by Tony winner Joanna Gleason's crowd-pleasing performance of "I Hate My Purse!" from the hit Off Broadway show Love, Loss, and What I Wore. Prolific author, commentator, and luncheon benefit chairperson Kate Kelly spoke movingly of her daughter's fight against lupus, and all that the Foundation has done for people with the disease in New York City and the nation.

"The S.L.E. Lupus Foundation has been here for New Yorkers with lupus for 40 years," said Foundation Executive Director Margaret G. Dowd. The luncheon is a highlight of May's Lupus Awareness Month activities in New York City, she added, raising funds and awareness to combat a disease that is under-publicized yet widespread, and potentially life-threatening. Lupus primarily targets women between the ages of 15 and 44; it is a leading cause of premature heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke among young women.

The bustling "silent" auction drew from handbag collections of luxury brands such as Chanel, Hermes, Valentino, Judith Leiber, and Prada, as well as from the private closets of some of entertainment's biggest stars, including Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey, Zoe Saldana, Keri Hilson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Julianna Margolis, and Diane Lane. "I have a strategy!" whispered a bidder in Jimmy Choo pumps, ready to pounce and add her name to multiple auction sheets seconds before the auction closed. 

About the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation

Established by New Yorker Susan Golick and her family 40 years ago, the S.L.E. Lupus Foundation aims to stimulate awareness, provide education and support throughout the five boroughs, and fund researchers dedicated to finding new treatments and a cure. In 2000, the Foundation launched the national Lupus Research Institute -- the world's leading private supporter of novel research in lupus. While the outlook for people with lupus has improved in the past four decades, the Foundation remains committed to its ultimate goal: life without lupus. Learn more at

About Lupus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (S.L.E.), commonly called lupus, is a chronic and potentially fatal autoimmune disorder and one of the nation's least recognized major diseases affecting more than 1.5 million Americans. In lupus, the body's immune system forms antibodies that can attack virtually any healthy organ or tissue, from the kidneys to the brain, heart, lungs, skin, joints and blood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that death rates from lupus are more than five times higher for women than for men and more than three times higher for African Americans than for Caucasians. No major new treatments for lupus have been approved in 50 years.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Liane Stegmaier
    S.L.E. Lupus Foundation
    Email Contact