National MS Society Hosts Houston On the Move Luncheon

This past Tuesday, Feb. 27, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society hosted the 13th Annual On the Move Luncheon at River Oaks Country Club, with the goal of raising more than $200,000 to support MS research and programs and services that will change the world for people affected by MS.

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million worldwide.

The On the Move Luncheon is a nationwide program created to empower communities with the knowledge, inspiration and relentless resolve to end multiple sclerosis forever. Held in cities across the country, the Luncheon maximizes a collective impact to change the world for people with MS – one gift, one voice at a time.

This year, the luncheon in Houston was under the leadership of event chair Shawntell McWilliams and honorary chairmen Stuart Burbach, Don McCormack and Franelle Rogers. In addition to raising funds and creating awareness for multiple sclerosis (MS), this event also recognizes and celebrates local citizens who are changing the world for people affected by MS.

The event featured ABC13’s Gina Gaston as the emcee and Camerone Parker McCulloch, who is a highly recognized model and TV personality, as the keynote speaker.

The 2018 Person On the Move Award was presented to Melanie Lawson for her continued support of the Society through her fundraising efforts, as well as for her service on the board and for emceeing multiple BP MS 150 events.

The 2018 Above & Beyond Award was presented to Gerald Merfish for his unparalleled dedication to the Society. To date, Merfish has raised more than $458,000 for the Society and has served in many board leadership roles. Merfish has also participated in the BP MS 150 Ride since 2000 – more than qualifying him as a person who goes ‘Above & Beyond’.

The Hope Award was presented to Lisa Sailor, not only for her long-term and inspirational support of the Society, but for her important service to displaced women and children during Hurricane Harvey at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Not only did Sailor ‘adopt’ 27 families that lost everything in the flood, she also provided Christmas gifts to over 73 children affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Luncheon guests got to see the collection of designs that Camerone Parker McCulloch modeled from various Project Runway alumni designers, and were able to here McCulloch share the meaningful journey of going public with her MS diagnosis in 2009. After living privately with MS for 11 years, due to be afraid that it would end her career, McCulloch went public and has been a powerful voice in patient advocacy for MS ever since. She has appeared in over 350 magazines worldwide and has walked runways for many top designers including Vera Wang, Donna Karan and Giorgio Armani.

For more information about multiple sclerosis and the National MS Society go to nationalMSsociety.org or call 800-344-4867.