Saturday, May 30, 2015

Exceeding High Expections

Not only did The Johnnie Walkers raised a record shattering $41,000, it was matched dollar for dollar by a MRF anonymous donor. Over the years we have raised over $300,000 to benefit the MRF. To say that I am personally grateful as are the scientists, volunteers (like us) and the staff members at The MRF is an understatement!

All of our donations, including the match, will fund the human clinical trial with the NIH on the repurposed drug, guanabenz and the development of protocols and assays that bridge the gap across “The Valley of Death” (which is the area between breakthroughs in the research laboratory and action by The Pharmaceutical Companies to invest millions in commercializing and FDA approved therapeutic).

Save the date, Sunday, May 22, 2016. The Johnnie Walkers will roll again.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


  • The Johnnie Walkers had quite a day for the Walk on Sunday.
  • Team Emerson (Emerson, NJ HS mini-Reunion) had quite a weekend. 
  • The MRF is having quite a year of breakthroughs in their quest to have a FDA approved therapeutic for REPAIR by 2019.

Taking full advantage of the typical (not!) Chicago weather of sunny and 78 degrees (that’s above zero) in the 1st week in May, we had a record crowd of Walkers and raised a record amounts of money on behalf of the MRF. Our goal is to raise $35,000 and have it matched by an anonymous donor for total of $70,000. As of today we are at $66,500 with more arriving daily. We’ve never been this close to our goal this early in the cycle.

A number of high school friends (we graduated 41 years ago) flew out here on Thursday. With the help of some natives, we showed them our beautiful Chicagoland. We went to Wrigley Field on Friday (it was cold). On Saturday we went on the river boat cruise and then visited The Bean (it was hot). On Sunday they merged with the loyal Johnnie Walkers team to walk 4 miles in Lincolnshire (it was great).

The MRF, in conjunction with NIH, is entering in human clinical trials for guanabenz, which has the potential to protect and repair myelin. They also helped fund a study at Case Western Reserve that showed the potential restoration of myelin after application of the active ingredient of athlete foot cream. (Scientific breakthroughs can come from the strangest places). They are leading the way for other companies that are making great progress in repair.

We’re keeping the books open for another couple months so please continue to donate generously.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Update: We Are Walking on Sunday, May 3rd

After a particularly cruel winter, we have emerged from our lairs to see The Sun and start thinking about Walking again.

Some new details:

The good news on MRF general fundraising this past year is that The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation matched all donations and exceeded their commitment. The very good news for us is we found an anonymous donor to match our fundraising for our May Walk.
 The more we stretch our efforts, the more they will stretch their match.

The neuro-protective compound, that had been previously known as MRF-008, is now identified as the FDA approved drug for high blood pressure, guanabenz. The work on this drug, as to its relevancy to MS, was done by the MRF collaborating principal investigators. You and The Johnnie Walkers helped fund this work! The MRF has entered into a cooperative agreement with the National Institutes of Health to get this breakthrough out of the lab and into the pharmacy via MS human clinical studies. Since guanabenz is already FDA-approved for another disease indication, the MRF and the NIH see a tremendous opportunity to investigate the repurposing of this drug with its known safety profile. Repurposing takes years off the clinical trial protocols.

I’m excited about the fast start we’ve had already as depicted by the thermometer to the right.

Join us on Sunday, May 3rd, in Lincolnshire to Walk, Generate Awareness and Raise Monies. The details remain the same as those in the November post below.