5th NMO Awareness Gala in March Sets $250,000 Fundraising Goal

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by Mary Chapman |

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The Sumaira Foundation (TSF) seeks to raise $250,000 for research into neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) and related disorders at its 5th NMO Awareness Gala, set for March 26.

The Hollywood-themed event will be held at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Boston. For ballroom entry, all attendees must show proof of vaccination as well as a negative COVID-19 test.

Tickets, available until March 4, are $225 each. There is no admission charge for NMOSD patients or for those who live with a related disorder, called myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody-associated disease (MOGAD). A reduced admission price is also available for medical and nursing students, medical school residents, and research and clinical fellows.

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Patients can email [email protected] to let the organization know of their planned attendance. Students, residents, and fellows should also write to the foundation at that address regarding the lower ticket price, according to the event announcement on a Sumaira Foundation webpage.

Visit this site to explore sponsorship opportunities. Sponsorships and ticket costs are tax-deductible.

Mandarin Oriental as well as the Lenox Hotel are offering a limited number of discounted rates for gala attendees through Feb. 22. Supporters who cannot attend the gala in person may still participate in the event’s auction. Go here to register.

Proceeds from the event, which will be hosted by Lauren Michaels and Gaetano Morello, will be used to fund NMOSD/MOGAD research conducted through TSF’s SPARK and Unicorn grants.

SPARK grants — $25,000 each — are available to clinical, translational, and basic researchers who are affiliated with U.S. academic institutions and have experience in the field of NMOSD and autoimmune disorders. Unicorn grants have the same eligibility requirements and award amounts as SPARK grants, but specifically fund pediatric NMO research.

Last month, the foundation awarded five such grants — four SPARK and one Unicorn — to projects that seek to advance research into preventing, treating, and potentially curing the progressive autoimmune disorder characterized by damage to the spinal cord and the optic nerve, which sends and receives signals from the eye.

The nonprofit Sumaira Foundation for NMO works to increase global awareness of NMOSD and MOGAD, raise research funds, and support patients and their caregivers. Visit this site for more information on studies funded by the Sumaira Foundation.