MS Society held its 32nd annual luncheon Jan. 23.
By Rachel Galvin
Long tables filled with auction items awaited guests at the Broward County Convention Center Jan. 23. The occasion was the annual MS Gala benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Honored at the event was David Schulman, who received the Society’s highest volunteer award, the MS Hope Award. At the event, guests learned the personal reason behind his dedication to finding a cure for the disease, his wife of 45 years, Carrie, who has been battling through it with David by her side. His children and grandchildren were among the many presenters who stood and/ or spoke in his honor.
Presented by the company Schulman is a general agent for, Mass Mutual/ DBS Financial Group, the event included a fashion show by Mayda Cisneros, a sit-down three course meal served family style and a video presentation, including introduction of several guests with MS and how the society has benefited them.
Among them was Joanne Postis, a Mental Health Counselor diagnosed in 2010.
Postis said, “[The MS symptoms] started with a limp and tingling in my arms and legs. My right side was weak. I was not able to write as fast. The tiredness was the most debilitating. It took them two years to figure out what it was. It took me falling and getting a concussion to finally be able to see a neurologist. I had to stop working in 2011. The scariest thing is that you have to be able to have someone take care of you.”
She added, “The MS Society has been amazing, [offering] counseling, when I was first diagnosed, financial assistance, a support group, women’s retreats, day meetings, education …”
Postis, working to “transform her purpose,” has ridden in an MS bike ride the last two years in addition to participating in walks. She said any funding toward the society helps and is hopeful about finding a cure.
Tareeq Pupani also struggled to be diagnosed. For him, the symptoms were different with cramps, burning eyes, headaches and tremors. It turned out he not only had MS, but also Lupus, which made the diagnosis more complex.
“It took them 18 months to figure out,” said Pupani, a Certified Project Manager who was diagnosed in 2004. “one of the biggest things is the fatigue.”
He also has biked, walked and more to help the society, who he said has been there for him.
“It made me feel I was doing something, not just complaining,” he said.
The society, he added, “has helped me to understand things I could do day to day to make life easier, the medicines out there and the research going on. I don’t think I could have done it without support.”
Doug Bonds, whose life partner was diagnosed with MS, said, “The National MS society was there to guide us on everything from where to buy ramps to finding the best doctors.”
Among the sponsors for this event was JR Dunn Jewelers, from Lighthouse Point, who donated a live auction item, a Rolex worth $10,000, and offered a 25 percent discount on purchases, giving a portion back to the charity.
“We have been doing this for about nine years,” said owner Jim Dunn. “It is one of the easiest charity organizations to work with. It is a wonderful cause.”
Approximately $550,000 was raised this day for the Society, according to the MS Society President of the South Florida Chapter Karen Dresbach. About 1200 people attended.
Hope Award recipient David Schulman and family.
Mayda Cisneros launched her new collection.
JR Dunn Jewelers was one of the event sponsors. Pictured-owner Jim Dunn.
Guests could bid on auction items electronically through bid pal.
About 1200 guests attended.