Schepens Celebrates 60 in Style

Leo and Kathryn Vecellio, and Ken Fischer

PALM BEACH, FL – The Schepens Eye Research Institute marked its 60th anniversary and union with Massachusetts Eye and Ear in style with a runway fashion presentation of the Monique Lhuillier Spring 2012 Collection at its gala at The Breakers, Palm Beach.

The program, “A Night for Sight,” featured famed pianist David Crohan. Blind since birth, Crohan has performed for such VIPs as President and Mrs. Clinton and Lady Bird Johnson and entertained Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy on her 100th birthday.

“As a supporter of the institute, I have always been fascinated by its research, but as an individual, I’m proud to raise funds for scientists who follow Dr. Schepens’ mission to eradicate blindness for us all,” said Kathryn Vecellio, a Schepens Trustee Chair.

Joan W. Miller, M.D., Chief and Chair of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School, provided a glimpse into the future of the new union created by the institute and Mass. Eye and Ear. Beth Pine, vice president of Neiman Marcus Palm Beach, presented the fashions, and Rich Godfrey, patient liaison at the institute, provided a look at the lifetime of the institute’s creator, Dr. Charles L. Schepens, known as the Father of Modern Retinal Surgery.

Designer Monique Lhuillier, known for creating wedding and red-carpet gowns favored by many celebrities, also attended the celebration.

Click photos to enlarge.

Following the fashion show, guests were treated to an elegant dinner party and piano presentation designed by Schepens’ Trustee Chairmen Vecellio, Kay Lyons and Nancy Raquet.

Toni May served as emcee for the program, which also included recognition of longtime Schepens supporters by Vecellio, who presented an update on scientific research and past accomplishments made at the Institute over the past 60 years.

A by-invitation-only cocktail reception was held the evening prior aboard the newly christened M/Y Lady Kathryn V, which arrived in Palm Beach for the occasion.

Hermé de Wyman Miro was the grand honorary chairman of “A Night for Sight,” held Nov. 30, 2011. Judith Murat Grubman was honorary chairman. Chairmen included Colleen Bain, Caroline Collings, Linda Salandra-Dweck, Michele Kessler, Sandra Krakoff, Anne Moran, Monika Preston, Joan Rubin, Julie Rudolph, Laurie Silvers and Andrea Stark.

The Institute has played a key role for many people living with low vision. It is a world leader in Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) research, which ultimately led to Lucentis, Avastin and other drugs that slow the progression of the disease. In addition, Schepens’ scientists are pioneers in the use of stem cells to repair damaged retinas in animal models, and are working to turn skin cells into stem cells to ultimately regenerate the retinas in humans.

Scientists at the institute are currently conducting clinical trials of new drugs to arrest dry eye syndrome, a painful condition that impacts hundreds of thousands of people.

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