Making medical history
DNDi‘s 15th Anniversary Gala Dinner – 24 October 2018 – NYC
It's not every day that you have the chance to eliminate one of the world's most neglected diseases.
It's also not every day that a group of global health leaders and celebrities in a downtown New York hotel gives a standing ovation to a researcher from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), thousands of miles from the equatorial rain forests where this disease kills. And it's certainly not every day that the presenter is none other than the "son of Congo," NBA Hall of Famer and President of the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, presenting an award designed and donated by one of DRC’s leading sculptors.
But this perfectly sums up last Wednesday evening: the honoree was Dr Victor Kande, the principal Congolese researcher behind the first all-oral treatment for sleeping sickness; the presenter was Dikembe Mutombo; and the award was designed by Professor Alfred Liyolo.
Dr Kande was being honored for Making Medical History - the title of our night. The treatment he helped develop could finally put the elimination of sleeping sickness in our sights, potentially becoming the second disease to ever be eliminated.
On Wednesday, 24 October, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) organized the Making Medical History Gala at the Bowery Hotel in New York City in celebration of DNDi’s 15-year anniversary. More than 180 friends, supporters, partners, celebrities, and global health influencers attended the Cocktail and Awards Dinner, and another 150-200 joined for a fantastic After Party featuring world-renowned musicians DJ Logic, Falu Shah, Mino Cinélu, Foday Musa Suso, and Constant Boty.
The evening was emceed by doctor and journalist Dr Javid Abdelmonein, and the other presenters and honorees included Sharon Stone, presenting the Visionary Award to Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the U.S. National Institutes of Health; Alek Wek, the South Sudanese supermodel, presenting the Founder’s Award to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (accepted on behalf of MSF by Dr Joanne Liu, International President); and DNDi’s own Dr Wilfried Mutombo, presenting the Excellence in Journalism Award to HuffPost (accepted by Jo Confino and Paul Josephson).
The evening, DNDi’s first-ever Gala, raised almost $500,000 for DNDi’s lifesaving work.
Take a few seconds to browse some images from that memorable night!