Thursday, May 23, 2024

Global Lyme Alliance Raises $2.5 Million at Glittering Fundraiser Featuring “Tootsie” Tony Winner Santino Fontana


A glamorous crowd packed Cipriani 42nd Street for the fifth annual Global Lyme Alliance gala: sparkly gowns and tuxes for a stellar event put together by the incomparable Lawrence Scott (if you want a great event, go to him). Hosted by Good Day New York’s irrepressible Rosanna Scotto, the benefit, to end the insidious and sneaky Lyme epidemic, featured speeches from Lyme survivors and performances by a Big Apple Circus juggler who did amazing work with pink umbrellas.

The big star of the night was “Tootsie” Tony winner Santino Fontana. Lucky for us “Tootsie” is dark on Thursday nights.

Fontana’s wife, it turns out, just had a baby girl two weeks ago, a blessing considering she also suffers from the debilitating Lyme disease. What we learned about Lyme survivors from the moving speeches: you can’t really tell someone has it, enduring invisible symptoms so that often specialists in the medical community poo poo their patients’ complaints about low energy and brain fog. Who knew in Cipriani’s vast expanse, which among the glittery diners were sick and which were not.

One thing was for sure: the well-heeled crowd, owners of lawns where the disease may be tick-borne, was happy to raise $2.5 million at the live auction, including $60,000 to spend some time with Avril Lavigne when she performs her Live in the Vineyard in Napa Valley. Lavigne had to take a break from her own thriving career to heal, and now she’s all in on getting information and medicine to fellow sufferers.


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