Announcing The Sumaira Foundation for NMO’s 4th Annual Awareness Gala

Hi TMA Friends!

I proudly serve on the executive board of The Sumaira Foundation for NMO, a special nonprofit founded by my childhood friend after she was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) in the summer of 2014. NMO is an extremely rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in different locations in the central nervous system. It affects people of all demographics and, with such little awareness around the disease itself, is often misdiagnosed or missed entirely. Frustrated by this global illiteracy, my beautiful friend Sumaira did what so many people could not: she leveraged her own community, knowledge and influence to build a mighty organization to provide real support for the patients, caregivers and loved ones who battle NMO each and every day. It’s been both a humbling and inspiring journey to see firsthand how our small efforts generate hope amidst the emotional rollercoaster that comes alongside any rare disease.

It’s for these reasons, and many more, that I’m thrilled to invite all of you to our 4th annual NMO Awareness Gala. On March 23rd, we’ll gather 250 guests from around the country for a black-tie evening at the Mandarin Oriental Boston. We love to bring together kind folks with a unique theme, and this year we’ll host our 2019 guests in a magical enchanted forest!

100% of the funds raised will empower us at The Sumaira Foundation to give a voice to those that don’t have one [TSF Voices of NMO], support innovative projects that help find a cure [TSF Spark Grants], and create a community of much-needed support for those affected by NMO [TSF Events + Partnerships].

Shout out to our official Gala 2019 Sponsors: Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston Laser Boston Eye Group, Barre Groove, Glacial Multimedia and the TMA for helping us create a memorable evening featuring live music, delicious eats, raffle & auction prizes, and of course lots of love for a cause that we can all get behind.

We’d love for you to join us! Here’s a few easy ways you can support our mission-aligned efforts this year:

  • Looking to attend Gala 2019 in person? View all ticket options here including an ultimate double-date experience!
  • Are you an NMO patient or a student, fellow, or resident? Email us to inquire about complimentary or reduced tickets at
  • Interested in leveraging your corporate leadership for social good? Ask us about Gala 2019 sponsorship opportunities at
  • Can’t make it to Gala 2019 & still want to show your support? Donate to The Sumaira Foundation here.

Cheers to helping us illuminate the darkness of NMO & all rare diseases,

Melissa Herman

Chief Strategy Officer, The Sumaira Foundation
Website | Email | LinkedIn

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