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Mary Wilson Brings the Crowd to Their Feet at the Sixth Annual Lupus Foundation of America Awards Gala

WASHINGTON, May 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mary Wilson, founding member of the world's most famous female trio, the Supremes, entertained a crowd of nearly 500 at the Lupus Foundation of America's Butterfly Gala -- Sixth Annual Awards Dinner on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 with her signature flair and style. Ms. Wilson is also a best-selling author, motivational speaker, businesswoman, and former U.S. Cultural Ambassador.

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CNN Anchor and Special Correspondent, Soledad O'Brien, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the Gala, which honored U.S. Congressman James P. Moran (D-VA, 8th), Sanjay Gupta, M.D., CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, and Roger M. Perlmutter, M.D., Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Research and Development for Amgen, Inc. The honorees were recognized for their efforts to bring national attention and resources to lupus, a devastating and life-threatening disease that affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans and five million people worldwide.

Mercedes Yvette, 2004 America's Next Top Model runner up and LFA spokesperson, and Kathy Crosby, Senior Vice President and Group Campaign Director for the Ad Council, conducted a special presentation to recognize the first-ever Ad Council awareness campaign on lupus sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health. The campaign, which launched nationwide on March 31st is directed towards individuals most at risk for developing the disease -- young women of childbearing age, with a special focus on minority women. The objectives of this campaign are to help the public understand lupus and its health effects, and identify early warning signs of the disease so that they can ask their doctors for a medical evaluation.

WNBA player for the Atlanta Dream, Michelle Snow, was also in attendance. Michelle is a long-term supporter of the Foundation and will be assisting the LFA in an effort to engage athletes and celebrities to help raise awareness of lupus throughout the country. She is leading this initiative to honor her mother who passed away in 2004 from complications associated with lupus.

Presenting the awards were the daughter of Congressman James P. Moran, Mary Elise Moran, Director of Human Resources for the NFL Players Association; Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL) and Dr. Annette Shelby; and LFA spokesperson Mercedes Yvette.

Senator Richard C. Shelby and Dr. Annette Shelby and Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) and Debbie Dingell were the 2009 Honorary Congressional Chairs. LFA spokespersons Kelly Jean Drury and Tomiko Fraser Hines were also in attendance. Kelly Jean Drury is a former actress and currently is a model with the Ford Agency, and Tomiko Fraser Hines is also an actress and model, including former spokesperson and brand ambassador for Maybelline New York.

Lupus is a chronic disease resulting from an immune system that is out of balance, causing it to become destructive to any organ or tissue in the body. Its health effects include heart attacks, strokes, seizures, kidney failure, and miscarriages. Ninety percent of people with lupus are women, and it disproportionately strikes women of color, particularly African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asians. Despite the prevalence of lupus, there has not been a new FDA-approved treatment approved for lupus in 50 years.

The Lupus Foundation of America is the nation's foremost national nonprofit voluntary health organization dedicated to finding the causes of and a cure for lupus, and providing support and services to all people affected by lupus. The LFA has a nationwide network of more than 300 chapters, branches and support groups and conducts programs of research, education, and advocacy.

SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America
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