STAMFORD, Conn. – Greenwich television host Gretchen Carlson and women’s basketball star Elena Della Donne shared the spotlight Saturday at a fundraising gala for Stamford-based Lyme Research Alliance. The gala was held at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich.
Carlson, a news show host on Fox News Channel, emceed the gala and share her experiences with Lyme disease. “I had a bull’s-eye rash but I was told I didn’t have Lyme disease,’’ she said.
Della Donne received LRA’s Star Light Award for stepping forward as a role model for young people struggling with Lyme disease and raising awareness. Delle Donne, Rookie of the Year in 2013 in the Women’s National Basketball Association, was diagnosed with Lyme seven years ago. She was falsely diagnosed by several doctors before she found a Lyme specialist.
She also shared a story of meeting a 5-year-old girl battling Lyme who hated ingesting “yucky pills.”
“I told her I don’t like taking my pills either, but they keep me strong so I can still play basketball,” Delle Donne said. “So at that moment she reached out and asked me to make a pill pact. We both made a promise that we would take our pills for each other. Now when I go to take my handful of pills I'm reminded of her and it makes my monotonous routine not so bad anymore. I hope she is feeling the same.”
Actress Jane Alexander, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei, Stamford native and former Major League Baseball manager Bobby Valentine also attended the gala.
More than 400 people attended the event, which raised over $1 million to support LRA’s efforts to fund medical research.
In addition to the Gala, on Saturday morning LRA hosted its fifth annual closed-door Lyme Research Symposium for members of the scientific community who are either current LRA grant recipients or members of LRA’s Scientific Board.
For more information on the Lyme Research Alliance, visit its website.