Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards event a great success

The 2009 Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards were held on Friday May 8, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. This year’s event focused on dispelling myths and prejudices of schizophrenia. Leadership Awards were presented to Elyn Saks for her contributions in educating and giving hope to people who suffer from schizophrenia and
to Shari and Garen Staglin for The Staglin Music Festival for Mental Health. Since its inception the festival has raised over 83 million dollars for brain research.  Brandon Staglin, their son who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, was the inspiration for the festival.  Brandon thanked his parents and recounted his experience in living with this most misunderstood illness. Film producer Gary Foster received the Beatrice Stern Media Award for his determination in bringing the The Soloist story by Steve Lopez to the screen.

A surprise visit by LA Times writer and author Steve Lopez made for an exciting moment in the star studded presentations.  The poignant personal stories of our honorees were framed by award presenters Joey Pantoliano and Stacey Snider recounting their own personal experiences on mental health.  

Guests dined on world class food from the Beverly Hilton's kitchen and received a copy of Steve Lopez's book "The Soloist" courtesy of the publisher Penguin / Berkley books