Friday, March 5, 2010

We are the Johnnie Walkers

We are the Johnnie Walkers. This group of friends, kids, and dogs has been getting together on the first spring Sunday each year for almost 15 years to walk, donate and bar-b-que to raise awareness and funds for Multiple Sclerosis research. This started in the 90s when there were no MS therapies on the market, 5 of us walked on a cold and sleety day and raised $500. We are now 100s of members strong. There are 10 MS drugs available, it’s always sunny and warm on the day of the walk (Chicago standards) and over the years we have raised over $200,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The NMSS is a great organization that not only funds research but educates the public and medical community, advocates for disability rights to the government and provides many support services for people with MS.

This year we are turning our attention and energy to the Myelin Repair Foundation.

I’ve been working with and observing MRF for 5 years. The simple but game changing concept on conducting medical research, pioneered by founder Scott Johnson, has combined the entrepreneurial of a startup business with the power of academia to accelerate drug development in the pharmaceutical industry. In other words, have the best scientists in this field proactively collaborate with each other on a coordinated research plan within the architecture of a business that provides support structure in communication tools, advisory boards, deadlines and funding. All with keeping the focus on real people with MS and other medical challenges.

The results have been impressive. The goal was to identify and license one target (a target is a biological process that if you manipulate with a drug, a positive result happens) to a pharmaceutical company in 5 years. In actuality, 19 targets have been identified, 24 new research tools have been developed (including a mouse who glows in the dark when myelin repair happens), one patent issued with 8 pending and negotiations ongoing to license these targets. To get a quick idea of how MRF does this please watch this 7 minute video.

This is the fastest approach to repair damage caused by MS, will get us all moving again and fulfill my GMOOTS program (Get My A-- Out Of This Scooter)

So join our cast of characters in Lincolnshire, IL on Sunday, May 16th.

At 10:30 am we will start a 4 mile neighborhood walk, followed by an afternoon backyard barb-b-queue. The usual suspects will be there including our out of town swat team members from Connecticut and Cleveland (Rhode Island and Sunnyvale), our extremely loyal locals and my family who show up under duress. This year, two of our rock star scientists, Dr. Steve Miller from Northwestern and Dr. Brian Popko from the University of Chicago will be with us (as the Intel commercial says “our rock stars are not like your rock stars”). A very generous anonymous donor has generously pledged to match all of our donations one for one.

If you can’t make the Walk, join us for the bar-b-queue. If you can’t make the trip join our group by donating online or by writing a check:

The Myelin Repair Foundation
Bob Gregory Fundraiser
18809 Cox Ave, Ste 190
Saratoga, CA 95070

It’s tax deductible!

Ask your friends to join us. We can never have too many team members and we never run out of good cheer or gratitude.