Toni Braxton will soon receive an honor that, to her, is just as prestigious as her seven Grammy Awards.
The R&B/pop star will be presented with Lupus LA’s Loop Award for her work on behalf of the organization’s ongoing fight against the autoimmune disease. The presentation will take place during Lupus LA’s 15th annual Orange Ball at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. on May 4.
Braxton, who revealed her own lupus diagnosis in 2010, recalls that Lupus LA was the first organization to reach out to her. “When I was first diagnosed, I felt so terrible about myself,” she reflects. “I was depressed; was it something I did? But they got me on track in terms of educating myself about the illness. I’m honored, flattered and excited to be receiving this award.”
The 2019 Orange Ball is chaired by Grammy winner and television personality Paula Abdul (also a Lupus LA ambassador) and Fox Searchlight Pictures co-chairwoman Nancy Utley. Actor Niles Fitch (This Is Us) will emcee. Additional attendees include Fitch’s This Is Us castmate Hannah Zeile, Parminder Nagra (God Friended Me), Ali Hillis (Grey’s Anatomy) and Krista Marie Yu (Last Man Standing). Entertainment will be provided by West Coast Music act Encore.
Of her continuing work with the Lupus LA board, Braxton says it’s imperative to keep building awareness for a disease that doesn’t have a look to it. “You can look perfectly fine but inside you can feel like you’re dying,” she explains. “It’s important to let people with this illness know that they are not alone. I feel good knowing that maybe my life can be an example to help others: If she can do it, I can do it.”
In addition to Braxton, Lupus LA is also recognizing global healthcare company GSK with the Daniel J. Wallace Medical Visionary Award for its dedication in seeking more effective treatments for lupus. Founded by Wallace in 2000, the nonprofit Lupus LA has raised more than $13 million for its cause.