Star-Studded Breath of Life Gala Raises $1.6 Million

January 8, 2013

Beneath the glowing lights of the city that never sleeps, more than 550 participants gathered for the Greater New York Chapter – Manhattan’s ninth annual Breath of Life Gala in November.

The event, which raised $1.6 million, featured live and silent auctions, a celebrity comedy skit and many New York notables. But it was a touching speech by an adult with cystic fibrosis that really brought the night to life.

Hope and Optimism

Greater NY Gala 2012 Negrycz Eileen Sara

Gary J. Negrycz, chapter board member, honoree and Breath of Life Award recipient with his wife Eileen and their granddaughter Sara.

Piper Beatty, 31, who has CF and is a long-time volunteer and devoted friend to the CF Foundation delivered the evening’s powerful Bid for a Cure speech. Speaking from her heart, Piper discussed the significance of Kalydeco™, the first drug to address the underlying cause of CF in four percent of the population.

Though the FDA’s approval of the drug does not impact her, she is confident that the breakthrough treatment will change the lives of people with the disease.

“It’s our time,” she said. “We’re so close to finding a cure. We can do this. We can all do this.” Piper’s words inspired guests to donate more than $130,000 during Bid for a Cure.

Star-Studded Event

As she spoke, Piper was surrounded by a number of famous New Yorkers including Lonnie Quinn, “CBS 2 News” chief weathercaster and board member of the CF Foundation’s Greater New York Chapter – Manhattan; Heather Thomson and Carole Radziwill, stars from Bravo’s hit series, “The Real Housewives of New York City”; Michael Kay, YES Network’s voice of the New York Yankees; and Ali Wentworth, author, comedian and actress most famous for her role as Jerry’s girlfriend in the classic Seinfeld episode “Soup Nazi.”

GNY Chapter Breath of Life Gala 2012 Skyline

The New York City skyline was front and center at the 9th Annual Breath of Life Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street. 

Thomas, Radziwill, and Wentworth all provided entertainment throughout the evening, as did The New York Pops, a symphonic pop orchestra.

Honoring Commitment

The Gala also offered an opportunity to recognize and celebrate those who generously support the CF Foundation. Gary J. Negrycz, vice president of Turner Construction, honoree, and chapter board member, was the recipient of the 2012 Breath of Life award. This prestigious award honors exceptional individuals for their above and beyond commitment, leadership and dedication to the fight against CF.

Unmatched Auction Items

Finally, guests took part in live and silent auctions led by Kay, Radziwill, Thomson and Wentworth. The live auction included tickets to the Grammy Awards and the Kentucky Derby and suite tickets to the New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat game.

The silent auction featured a wide range of items, like jewelry, tickets to exclusive shows and events, sports memorabilia and exclusive getaways to Nantucket and Zurich, Switzerland.

Together the auctions raised nearly $100,000 towards the search for a cure for CF.

The Greater New York Chapter – Manhattan would like to thank the event chairs and co-chairs:

Event chairmen: 

  • Charles D. Avolio, LEED AP, Vice President & Operations Manager of Turner Construction and Emad Lotfalla, Vice President of Turner Construction.

Event co-chairs: 

  • Jeffrey A. Altman, The Jeffrey A. Altman Foundation
  • Donna and Robert Shafir, Credit Suisse
  • Suzanne and J. Crandall, Oak Hill Capital Management
  • Timothy J. Clark, Elm Street Capital Partners
  • Kate and Robert H. Niehaus, Greenhill Capital Partners, LLC
  • Novartis Pharmaceuticals
  • Kim and Alan Hartman, Centerview Partners, LLC
  • Amy and John S. Weinberg, Goldman Sachs


  • Jacquie Colgan
  • Tom Grotta
  • Thomas Lynch
  • Eileen Negrycz
  • Janice Rossman
  • Donna Shafir

Its generous sponsors:

  • Gary Negrycz, Vice President of Turner Construction; and Turner Construction