As humans, we are given bountiful opportunities to write mankind off as mostly self-serving, greedy individuals. After attending MDA’s Muscle Team Event, the choice to see the world as one that sustains the lives of those hoping for better, not just for themselves but for others, is made that much easier. The event, held on January 5th, 2016 at Chelsea Piers is an annual sports dinner that brings together high-profile athletes, celebrities and generous donors to raise money to further help the cause of those affected by muscle diseases. Children with muscle diseases attend the event with an athlete that they have been paired with and a dinner is followed by a silent auction.
We often find ourselves wondering what life is about and while none of us will ever truly know, one thing that most will agree upon is that the feeling of hope must be at its core.
At last night’s event, hope was more than a fleeting feeling. It was the empathy in the eyes of businessmen, the indefatigable efforts of volunteers who devote their lives to the cause and it most importantly, was in the words of a man living with the disease that had planned to rob him of a remarkable life over thirty years ago. One would find it almost impossible to feel anything but hope when a man with Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, who had been told he would only live into his late teens, is now the Dean of Students at the City University of New York. This man, named Christopher Rosa, has been affiliated with MDA for nearly forty years in a variety of ways. Rosa was first diagnosed with this disease at an MDA clinic and he now receives what he calls, “life-affirming” treatment because of MDA efforts.
According to Rosa, the past five years have seen incredible progress in treatment and the development of drugs to combat Muscular Dystrophy. Big players in New York City Real Estate have taken an active interest in the cause. Richard Haray, a former honoree and Senior Vice President of Interpublic Group, summed up the feelings of the sponsors when he said, “Everybody who sees the children and realizes what their situation is is moved by that so it is very easy to support.” Many have been consistent sponsors and continue to attend this event, which just celebrated its nineteenth year. Raymond Quartararo, the Head of Global Construction within Global Real Estate, said when asked about his reasoning for getting involved: “We live in the most generous city in the world, we live great lives and it is just a great way for us to be able to give back.” Individuals like Quartararo are the reason this event has been so successful over the years. Ted Moudis, of Ted Moudis Associates, is one of the dinner chairs. When asked about his affiliation with the organization, he simply said, “I got involved with the dinner fifteen years ago and it’s such a great cause, I haven’t left.” This sort of allegiance is common among the good-hearted individuals who attend this event. The consensus seemed to be that once one saw the plight of these children, there was no way that they would not do all that they could to help. The MDA Muscle Team Dinner was an event one left feeling foolish to have ever doubted mankind.