National Multiple Sclerosis Society: Bette Played For Charity Before

Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons sing at $1.1M fundraiser for National Multiple Sclerosis Society
By Jamie Duffy
November 09, 2009, 9:03AM

Last week thousands of people flocked to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark for a special performance by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons — and to support the fight against multiple sclerosis.

Musical Moments, the eighth such concert in Newark, benefited the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The cause was close to the heart of organizers Lee and Murray Kushner, since Lee was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the mid-1990s. This year the event raised $1.1 million which will go to national research and local MS centers.

Jackie Jackson of South Plainfield, who was diagnosed 12 years ago with multiple sclerosis, said the benefit “means the world to me.”

Jackson, who serves on the board of the National MS Society, attended with her daughter, Shahieda Da Silva, of S. Plainfield, who has also been diagnosed with the condition.

There were three honorees: Ron Boire, leadership award, vice chairman of the National MS Society; Steve Jones, humanitarian award, president and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital; and, Dr. Suhayl Dhib-Jalbut, medical excellence, chairman of neurology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Center for Multiple Sclerosis.

Dhib-Jalbut said there are exciting new oral medicines coming on the market next year to treat the condition, replacing some injection-only therapies. “Patients don’t like injections,” he said.

Research has provided “new genetic information for the risks for MS,” he said, pertaining to “the immune system, environmental effects, viruses and Vitamin D deficiency.“

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic condition that attacks the central nervous system. “MS stops people from moving. We exist to make sure it doesn’t,” is a credo of the National MS Society.

So far Musical Moments has raised $9 million in eight concerts. Other performers have included Smokey Robinson, Donna Summer, Bette Midler, Kenny Loggins, Linda Ronstadt, Bernadette Peters and Gladys Knight.

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