FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
2007 MS Connecticut Citizen of The Year Gala Raises More Than $244,000
OLD LYME, Conn. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter hosted its annual MS Connecticut Citizen of the Year Gala on Thursday, Sept. 20, at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. The event, which raised more than $244,000, featured Aerosmith in concert, a pre-concert reception and an after concert dessert reception. Funds raised ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure and the continuation of vital programs and services offered by the chapter to Connecticut residents diagnosed with MS.
The Connecticut Chapter named Michael P. Lech, president and CEO of READCO, the 2007 MS Connecticut Citizen of the Year. This award is the highest honor bestowed by the Connecticut Chapter and honors outstanding individuals exemplifying extraordinary leadership, outstanding civic and community service and a long-standing commitment to humanitarian endeavors. Lech serves as vice chairman of the Connecticut Chapter’s Board of Trustees and also serves on the Audit, Comprehensive Care, Development and Executive Committees. As a founder of the MS Connecticut Citizen of the Year Gala, he has served as co-chairman of the event and has been instrumental to the event’s overall success. In addition, Lech has led fundraising initiatives for Avon Old Farms School, Lawrence & Memorial’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and is a Board Member for the William T. Christopher Foundation for Children’s Health.
"I am honored to be chosen for this prestigious award," said Lech. "My sister is among the more than 6,000 Connecticut residents battling the effects of multiple sclerosis. Raising funds to find a cure is critical to ending this disease."
State of Connecticut deputy comptroller Mark E. Ojakian was also honored as the 2007 MS Hope Award recipient. This award is presented to individuals exhibiting extraordinary community leadership and support for improving the quality of life for Connecticut residents. A dedicated member of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter Board of Trustees, Ojakian has worked tirelessly to raise MS awareness throughout the state and has accomplished significant fundraising achievements for the organization. Ojakian currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Hartford Housing Authority and has lent his fundraising talents to local organizations such as the Connecticut AIDS Residence Coalition, GLAD, Love Makes a Family, Hartford Stage Company and Real Art Ways. He has also received numerous awards in recognition of his civic and humanitarian activities, including being awarded as the first Leukemia Society Man of the Year.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. The effects of MS are unpredictable. Symptoms can include numbness and tingling in the extremities, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness, fatigue and, in some severe cases, total paralysis. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted, and there is no cure. The cause is unknown, and, as a result, there currently is no cure for MS. Funds raised through events, such as the MS Connecticut Citizen of the Year Gala, support the Connecticut Chapter’s mission to end the devastating effects of MS.
The 2007 MS Gala Committee includes co-chairs William Crowe, Esq., Mayo Crowe, LLC; Mario DiLoreto, Esq., General Manager, READCO and Robert Landino, Centerplan Development Corp. Jim Koplik, president, LiveNation and Jay Fishman, president and CEO of Travelers serve as honorary chairs for the 2007 event.
For more information on 2008 MS Gala sponsorship opportunities, please contact Kara Preston, development director, at (860) 714-2300, ext. 233.
PHOTO CUTLINE: (Left to right) Michael P. Lech, president and CEO of READCO, and 2007 MS Connecticut Citizen of the Year award recipient; Lisa Gerrol, president, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter, and Mark E. Ojakian, State of Connecticut deputy comptroller and 2007 MS Hope Award recipient celebrate at the 2007 MS Citizen of the Year Gala held Thursday, Sept. 20, at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.
NOTE TO MEDIA: