Tick-Borne Disease Alliance Holds Annual Gala to Fund Research and Raise Awareness for Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases

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Kevin Bacon, Dr. Oz and Ben Stiller Lend Their Voices and Support at May 1, 2014 Gala

The Great Imitator Masquerade Ball

The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA), one of the country's most authoritative voices on Lyme disease, is pleased to announce its third annual fundraising gala titled "The Great Imitator Masquerade Ball," to be held at Chelsea Piers in New York City on Thursday, May 1, 2014. This year's theme looks to shed light on the debilitating effects of Lyme disease, which often mimic other diseases.

TBDA's gala includes a festive evening of cocktails, silent auction, dinner and awards program, featuring important messages from fellow Lyme advocates, supporters and celebrities, including Kevin Bacon, Ben Stiller and Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Heather Thomson, President and CCO of Yummie by Heather Thomson and star of "Real Housewives of New York City," will lead the gala as Mistress of Ceremonies. The evening will honor a group of incredible individuals, all of whom have been personally affected by Lyme. These people include former Major League Baseball Player Tom Seaver, 2014 Olympic Freestyle Skier Angeli VanLaanen and Punk & Indie Rock Musician Kathleen Hanna. Each honoree will be recognized for their determination and willingness to speak out about Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Additionally, Corrin Stellakis, 2014 Miss New York Teen USA, will share her voice and concerns about the alarming growth of Lyme disease that she continues to witness firsthand in her hometown of Bridgeport, New York and her equestrian riding community.

International Grand Prix equestrian jump rider and World Cup finalist Judy Garofalo-Torres will be the recipient of TBDA's Humanitarian Honoree. A Lyme sufferer herself, Judy has shown great strength in her brave fight against Lyme and possesses an unrivaled commitment to raising awareness and funds for both human and animal Lyme sufferers across the country.

"I am honored beyond words to have the opportunity to be a part of this important cause that is so close to my heart," says Judy Garofalo-Torres. "Growing up around horses, I never thought my personal life, as well as my career, would be put in jeopardy. If it wasn't for the help of organizations such at the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance, I would not be where I am today, which is almost back to perfect health and living my dream by competing and teaching others how to compete as well."

Dynamic, inclusive and passionate, TBDA was formed in 2012, and since then has been dedicated to raising awareness, promoting advocacy and supporting initiatives that will lead to the eradication of Lyme and tick-borne diseases. The current focus is on developing an accurate and reliable diagnostic test for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

Kicking off May as the National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, this year's gala will be TBDA's most influential fundraising event of the year. The night will also honor some of the nations most courageous and applauded individuals who have shared their experiences and graciously lent their support to help TBDA find a cure for Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses.

"Lyme disease is the fastest growing disease in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that Lyme disease is a 'tremendous' public health threat, infecting 300,000 people each year, 10 times more than previously reported. Experts say that the number of long-term sufferers is likely much higher. We need more government support and research to find a diagnostic test that is both accessible and reliable to help further eradicate these illnesses," said David Roth, Co-Chairman of TBDA and Managing Director of Blackstone. "TBDA would not be successful without the generous support of the public and their willingness to stand up and fight for this urgent cause."

TBDA is grateful to those who are dedicated to helping the organization raise awareness, support research, promote advocacy and increase funds for improved diagnostics for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.TBDAlliance.org, Facebook, Twitter, or call TBDA at 914-579-1000.

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About the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance
The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance was created in 2012 from the merger of two groups: Turn the Corner Foundation and the Tick-Borne Disease Initiative. TBDA is dedicated to raising awareness, promoting advocacy and supporting initiatives to find a cure for tick-borne diseases, including Lyme. As part of its efforts, TBDA is embarking on a quest to develop a reliable diagnostic tool as a first step toward eradicating the diseases. Working with others in the tick-borne disease community nationwide, TBDA seeks to raise public awareness through education and create a unified voice for advocacy regarding the current epidemic in order to make a real difference. More information about TBDA, Lyme and tick-borne diseases, prevention and protection can be found at http://www.TBDAlliance.org.

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Lindsay Walus
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