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Benefit Hope Wine & Gourmet Food Tasting Raises $7,000 For Worthy Cause

STAMFORD, Conn. The first annual Benefit Hope wine and gourmet food tasting held on October 14 at the Stamford Marriott Hotel in Stamford, Conn., attracted more than 100 guests and raised approximately $7,000 to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Connecticut Chapter and Connecticut residents battling the potentially debilitating effects of multiple sclerosis (MS).

CTP Wine TastingEstablished by Stamford resident Carrie Levitt, Benefit Hope is made up of young professionals volunteering time, energy and creativity to support programs, services and research. Many of those involved with Benefit Hope either have multiple sclerosis or are connected to a loved one or close friend who does. Levitt, 29, a freelance photojournalist, became actively involved with the National MS Society after her mother and aunt were diagnosed with MS. She has since developed lasting friendships with others her age battling the same unpredictable effects of multiple sclerosis experienced by her loved ones.

"I extend my thanks to everyone involved," said Levitt, who before moving to Connecticut spearheaded a similar group in New York, raising more than $200,000 last year at a sell-out gathering aboard the battleship Intrepid. "The silent auction proved to be a big hit! In fact, we raised the silent raised more than $3,000. Our guests and vendors were very pleased with the event and all are looking forward to next year’s tasting."

More than 6,000 Connecticut residents live with the effects of multiple sclerosis. The cause is unknown, and, as a result, there currently is no cure. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted. Funds raised through events, such as the Benefit Hope wine tasting, ensure ongoing scientific research to find a cure and the continuation of programs and services provide by the chapter to Connecticut residents living with multiple sclerosis.

CTP Wine 2The wine tasting event included culinary delicacies prepared by chefs from Connecticut’s premier restaurants, including Beach House Café, Brickhouse, Stamford Grand, Vuli, Zinc Bistro, Zody Café and others. Spirits and wine distributors include Pernod-Ricard USA, Eder Bros., Moet Hennessy USA, Corus Distributors, Elit by Stoli, Johnnie Walker Green, Johnnie Walker Gold, Johnnie Walker Blue, Smirnoff and Tommy Bahama Rum. The event also included gift bags, drawings for prizes and a silent auction.

For more information on Benefit Hope, future events or joining the group, please call (917) 797-6022, e-mail at benefithope@aol.com or visit www.benfithope.com. For more information on multiple sclerosis and vital programs and services offered by the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, please visit www.ctfightsMS.org or e-mail programs@ctfightsMS.org.

10/30/07

CUTLINE 239757542306_0_ALB: Moet Hennesey USA representative, Vincent Melita, pours champagne for guests at the first annual Benefit Hope wine and gourmet food tasting on October 14.

CUTLINE HPIM0555: (from left to right) Jason Coppola, a resident of Stamford, Conn.; Chris Vigilante, a resident of Stamford; Laura Rothman, a resident of Stamford and also a member of Benefit Hope; Lauren Vavoulidis, a resident of Stamford; and Stamford resident Debbie Aloupis enjoy a glass of wine and some good conversation at the first annual Benefit Hope wine and gourmet food tasting held at the Stamford Marriott Hotel on Sunday, Oct. 14.

Karen E. Butler

Vice President of Communications

Greater Connecticut Chapter

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