Linda Ronstadt on the Spirit Achievement Awards and the Need for Parkinson's Research

Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns
Linda Ronstadt photographed inĀ AmsterdamĀ in 1976.

What started in 1954 as the first "benefit luncheon" in Manhattan to honor Marlene Dietrich and her daughter has – in addition to inspiring scores of similar charitable luncheons – grown into an essential annual fundraiser. We're talking about the Spirit Achievement Awards, which brought its 64th iteration to the Rainbow Room in NYC on May 15.

Rock icon Linda Ronstadt was this year's honoree, being lauded for her advocacy in Parkinson's research. Unfortunately, her struggle with the disease prevented her from attending the event, but she's now sharing a statement in support of the Spirit Achievement Awards and the Albert Einstein College Women’s Division.

"I am honored to be a part of this year's Spirit of Achievement Awards and represent women in music," Ronstadt said. "The research that Einstein has accomplished for Parkinson's is so important to finding a cure to this debilitating disease that has affected so many including myself. I hope to see the next generation get involved and continue to make this fundraiser as successful as it has always been."

In addition to Ronstadt, the event honored interior designer Penny Drue Baird, CEO of Douglas Elliman Dottie Herman, and EVP and Chief Academic Officer Dean Allen M. Spiegel.   

Since its inception, the Einstein Women’s Division has raised over $100 million; this year’s luncheon raised further funds for comprehensive health care for women through cutting-edge research and teaching, as well as providing specialty care for all women.