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ALS Golden West to honor Aaron Lazar with the Essey Spotlight Award

2024 Champions Honorees Announcment Aaron Lazar

ALS Golden West will honor award-winning actor and singer, Aaron Lazar, with the Essey Spotlight Award for his commitment to raising ALS awareness around the globe at their Champions for Cures and Care gala on Friday, January 19, 2024, at the Hilton Los Angeles Airport. This inspirational and informative event celebrates individuals and organizations whose contributions and efforts advance the organization’s mission-critical activities.

Supporters of the ALS community are invited to enjoy an elegant and festive evening featuring cocktails and wine tasting; a silent and live auction; gourmet dinner; special guest appearances; entertainment; and the presentation of ALS Golden West’s highest honors, The Essey Awards, which include the Essey Spotlight Award. Named for one of the organization’s founding board members, San Francisco’s Richard “Dick” Essey, the prestigious Essey Awards are given annually for outstanding efforts in support of mission priorities in ALS research, care services, and advocacy.

With extraordinary passion and grace, Aaron inspires audiences with The Impossible Dream, his personal journey of healing in the face of his ALS diagnosis. He will perform an excerpt of song and story from the piece for Champions for Cures and Care guests.

Aaron is a SAG Award winner and Drama Desk Award nominee who has starred in 11 Broadway productions. He debuted in The Phantom of the Opera; originated roles in the world premieres of A Tale of Two Cities, Impressionism and The Last Ship; starred in the revivals of A Little Night Music and Les Miserables; and romanced audiences in The Light in the Piazza at Lincoln Center and Live from Lincoln Center on PBS. In Los Angeles, Aaron starred as Larry Murphy in the first national tour of the Tony Award-winning smash Dear Evan Hansen and as Dr. Neville Craven in The Secret Garden, both at The Ahmanson Theatre. 

On film and television, Aaron can be seen wearing hot dog fingers in The Daniel’s Academy Award-winning film Everything, Everywhere All At Once and Season 5 of Yellowstone. He has worked with legendary directors Clint Eastwood (J.Edgar), Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street), Shawn Levy (This is Where I Leave You), Mary Harron (The Notorious Bettie Page) and The Russo Brothers (Avengers: Infinity War & Avengers: Endgame). Aaron was also one of the stars of “Filthy Rich” on FOX with Kim Catrall. 

As a singer, Aaron has been a guest artist with some of the world’s top symphonies, including The New York Philharmonic, The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, The National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center, The Boston Pops, The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra at Masada, The English National Opera Orchestra and The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. His acclaimed concerts Broadway to Hollywood and All For You (with Tony Award nominee Kate Baldwin), play cabaret clubs and PACs around the US. 

As a producer, Aaron created the album Broadway Lullabies to soothe families during the pandemic, streaming everywhere. He holds a BA in music and pre-med from Duke University and an MFA from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he was recently honored with the prestigious Katz Alumni Award. Aaron is also an honorary board member of the Tennessee Arts Academy, proudly serving arts teachers K-12. Aaron lives in Los Angeles with his fiancee, two teenage boys and their dog Marty.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a fatal, neurodegenerative illness that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The average life expectancy of a person with ALS is two to five years from diagnosis. As the disease progresses, people with ALS lose the ability to walk, move, speak, swallow and, eventually, to breathe – all while the mind and senses continue to function. Veterans are at twice the risk as those who have not served in the military. Currently, there are no known causes or cures for ALS.

At the event, ALS Golden West will also recognize Fred Fisher, MSW, LCSW, President & CEO, ALS Golden West with the Essey Lifetime Achievement Award. Fred has served as the President and CEO of ALS Golden West for more than 20 years. With a deep commitment to ALS care, research, and public policy, Fred’s accomplishments on behalf of the ALS community are unparalleled and far-ranging. Fred’s vision and leadership have played a pivotal role in positioning ALS Golden West to accelerate research and power the search for effective prevention strategies, treatments, and cures for ALS.

During the event, guests will enjoy live music by Carlos Calvo and friends. Calvo, often called Hollywood’s “Guitar Teacher to the Stars,” combines Alternative Folk/Pop with virtuoso guitar playing. The live auction will be hosted by Emmy Award-winning radio & TV personality Liam Mayclem. Mayclem is best known as the host of EYE ON THE BAY on CBS 5 and as “The Foodie Chap,” celebrating San Francisco Bay Area culinary stars daily on #1 KCBS Radio.

Proceeds from Champions for Cures and Care will provide funding for ALS Golden West’s mission priorities in care services, public policy, and cutting-edge global research toward effective treatments and cures for ALS.  Sponsorship and ticket purchase opportunities are now available. Please contact Asher Garfinkel, Vice President of Community Outreach, at for more information.

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