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Karen Murray can sure draw a crowd.
Executives from Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Perry Ellis, Burlington Coat Factory and GQ turned out at Cipriani 42nd Street last week to support Murray, president of VF Sportswear and the corporate sponsor of the 14th annual Heartworks gala. The event benefits The Marfan Foundation, a group that supports patients and their families suffering from the genetic connective-tissue disorder. Murray’s son Michael is afflicted with the disease.
In addition to the fashion industry presence, the evening also drew former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as well as several stage actors including Ann Reinking and Bebe Neuwirth; it was hosted by James Naughton.
As always, the event twinged the heartstrings by spotlighting Marfan sufferers and their caregivers. This year, patient Sinclair Li presented the Hero With a Heart award to his doctor, Abe DeAnda, Jr., of NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. Li’s father and two uncles had died of aortic dissections — a hallmark of undiagnosed Marfan syndrome — and he nearly died of the same ailment. But after three open-heart surgeries and two weeks in a coma, Li is alive and well. “Dr. DeAnda will always have a place in my heart and my repaired aorta,” he said.
A visibly touched DeAnda said those whose lives are impacted by Marfan are like one big family, all working together to publicize and treat the disease. “This gala is not just a fund-raiser, but an indicator of how far we’ve come,” he said.
The dinner raised $1 million for the Marfan Foundation.