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Race To Erase MS Event Raises Money For Research

By Amanda Peabody

To kick off May as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, advocate and survivor Nancy Davis will host the 17th annual Race to Erase MS event at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on May 7. The event is a fundraising gala for the Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis and its Center Without Walls program.

The Center Without Walls is a cohesive network of the nation’s leading physicians that works to develop new treatments for MS and ultimately find a cure for the disease.

“What’s exciting is that when I did start (the foundation), I had been newly diagnosed with MS and there was no known cause, no drugs–a big question mark,” said Davis. “The doctors gave me no hope.”

As a new mother, Davis was not ready to surrender her life to her disease–a condition doctors told her would leave her with little ability other than to handle a television remote. After numerous visits to doctors and specialists, a pattern of redundancy began to emerge to Davis: physicians were routinely conducting similar studies across the United States. They weren’t communicating with each other. Thus the foundation and Center were born.

“It dawned on me that if we could get the best and brightest to work as a team a not conduct duplicate research, we may find a cure,” said Davis.

Every month, the Center’s network of the top seven MS research institutions such as UC San Francisco, Harvard, Yale, USC, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins and Oregon Health Sciences University, meet to combine their studies and understandings of genetics, pathophysiology, immunology and therapeutics to advance the understanding of the cause of MS.

Today, there are now at least six MS medications with Federal Drug Administration approval and countless new therapies available to patients, said Davis.

The gala, which features live performances by Avril Lavigne and Heart as well as a live and silent auction, will serve as the foundation’s main fundraiser, but will also highlight the MS Expo May 8. The center’s physicians will gather at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza at 10:30 a.m. to host a round table discussion and presentation free and open to the public. At the MS Expo, attendees will gain access to the most cutting edge and recent information surrounding the disease. There will also be a public question and answer portion.

“If you have MS, it’s so hard to get into any of the doctors,” said Davis. “The (MS Expo) is like a meeting with the Pope!”

Tickets to the Race to Erase MS gala start at $1,000 and tables start from $10,000. To purchase tickets, contact or call 310-440-4842. For additional information on the MS Expo or to purchase items from the auction, visit www.erasems. org.

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