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Bay Area Lyme Foundation’s LymeAid Brings Celebrities and Scientists Together to Help Accelerate Medical Breakthroughs for Lyme Disease

David and Yolanda Foster, Daryl Hall, Huey Lewis, Jane Seymour, and Elet Hall were among supporters to help combat the fastest growing vector-borne infectious disease

PORTOLA VALLEY, CA — On Sunday, May 17, Bay Area Lyme Foundation, the leading national nonprofit funder of innovative Lyme disease research, hosted more than 400 celebrities, philanthropists, and noteworthy scientists at the third annual LymeAid® gala. The benefit dinner and concert raised approximately $600,000, of which 100% will go directly to fund research for Lyme disease.  More than 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with this potentially debilitating disease each year. 

“As the problem of Lyme disease continues to grow, we are grateful for the support of such a broad range of scientists, physicians, patients, and celebrities,” said Linda Giampa, executive director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation.  “We are seeing great opportunities to fund incredible research that we are hopeful will help us identify an accurate diagnostic and cure.”

Huey Lewis and the News brought the power of love to the fight for a cure for Lyme disease, and got the audience to their feet. The philanthropic rockers donated their performance to help the cause. Founding band member Johnny Colla’s daughter, Allison, suffers from Lyme disease. Huey Lewis shared his thoughts. “It’s a challenging disease, and my hope is that the funds raised today at LymeAid will help find better diagnostics and a cure so that others do not need to endure what Allison has.”

More than 30 researchers from a dozen institutions from across the country also came to show their support for the cause, and to share their scientific insights with attendees.

“Meeting the scientists working with Bay Area Lyme Foundation to solve the challenges of Lyme disease, and seeing their enthusiasm for their research, gives me great hope for the future,” said Daisy White, Health Advocate for Yolanda Foster, who attended LymeAid in place of Yolanda to learn more about the disease to help Yolanda overcome it.  Yolanda Foster, a high profile sufferer of Lyme disease, is a member of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

Paige Larkin, Yolanda’s best friend, who also has Lyme disease, added: “We need to make Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure – and I hope we can do that quickly.”

The scientists who attended consisted of all of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation Scientific Advisory Board members: John Aucott, MD, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Charles Chiu, MD, PhD, University of California, San Francisco; Monica E. Embers, PhD, Tulane University Health Sciences; Christine Green, MD, clinician and Director of Education for International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society; Robert Lane, PhD, University of California, Berkeley; William Robinson, MD, PhD, Stanford University.

Other physicians in attendance are also making incredible contributions to Lyme disease research, including Richard Horowitz, author of Why Can’t I Get Better?; Safwan Jaradeh, MD, Stanford University School of Medicine, who is heading up a clinical trial being funded by Bay Area Lyme Foundation, and Lloyd B. Minor, MD, Dean, Stanford University School of Medicine.

“Since our inception three years ago, we’ve been honored to have numerous researchers and physicians embrace our mission and join our cause, and are grateful for having so many of them, as well as the donors that support their efforts, at LymeAid,” said Laure Woods, founder and president, Board of Directors, Bay Area Lyme Foundation.  “The continued support of our donors has made it possible for these researchers to offer an impressive and growing body of research about Lyme disease.”

Linda Giampa and Bonnie Crater, co-founder of Bay Area Lyme Foundation presented the Emerging Leader Award and a $100,000 grant to two research collaborators who are exploring a potential biomarker for Lyme disease, which may lead to the development of a novel urine test for early Lyme disease.  The collaborators are:

  • John A. Branda, MD, Assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, and Assistant Pathologist and Associate Director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratories at Massachusetts General Hospital.
  • Nira Pollock, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pathology at Harvard Medical School, the Associate Medical Director of the Infectious Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory at Boston Children’s Hospital, and a member of the faculty of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Numerous celebrities, many touched by Lyme disease, supported the event including:  Yolanda Foster, a member of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and a high profile sufferer of Lyme disease, who along with her husband, music producer David Foster, were honorary chairs of the event but did not attend due the severity of her symptoms of Lyme disease; Elet Hall, the 2014 American Ninja Warrior and a Lyme disease sufferer; Johnny Colla of Huey Lewis and the News, whose daughter Allison has Lyme disease; philanthropist/actress Jane Seymour who departed the Cannes Film Festival early to attend; musician and Lyme disease survivor Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates, who chaired the event but was unable to attend; and Kathleen McClellan Sain, who hosted TLC’s For Better or For Worse.

Sherry Cagan, Eileen Morgenthaler, and Laure Woods were the honorary chairs of LymeAid, which took place in Portola Valley at the private residence of Sherry and Laird Cagan.

2015 event sponsors included: LymeLight Foundation, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Foundation, TransPak, Whittier Trust, Trattore Farms, Rosewood Sand Hill, TellMed Strategies, Giant Microbes and Lencioni Construction Company, Inc.

About Lyme Disease

One of the fastest growing vector-borne infectious diseases in the United States, Lyme disease is a potentially debilitating infection caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected tick to people and pets. If caught early, most cases of Lyme disease can be treated, but it is commonly misdiagnosed due to lack of awareness and unreliable diagnostic tests.  If not treated promptly, Lyme may progress to a debilitating stage becoming difficult, or impossible, to cure. The CDC has reported that about 300,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year.

About Bay Area Lyme Foundation

Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a national nonprofit organization committed to making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure is the leading sponsor of innovative Lyme disease research in the US.  A national 501c3 non-profit organization, the Foundation collaborates with world-class scientists and institutions to accelerate medical breakthroughs for Lyme disease. It is also dedicated to providing reliable, fact-based information so that prevention and the importance of early treatment is common knowledge.  For more information on Lyme disease or to get involved, visit or call us, 650-530-2439.


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