MS Dinner of Champions to honor Don Fry, work of the GBC

The Maryland Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society will honor Greater Baltimore Committee president Donald C. Fry and the work of the GBC at the 19th annual Dinner of Champions gala on September 8.

The event will be held at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront. Fry was selected because of his leadership as GBC president in strengthening the economic vitality and quality of life in the Baltimore region.

“Don Fry has set a high standard for professional excellence and civic involvement,” said J. R. Paterakis, vice president of sales and marketing for H & S Bakery and chairman of the 2006 Dinner of Champions. “The National MS Society’s Dinner of Champions has become one of the most prestigious events on Baltimore’s social calendar. We are thrilled to recognize Don and his many accomplishments at this year’s event, and to include him among the distinguished individuals honored during the past two decades.”

Past honorees include William Donald Schaefer, Henry A. Rosenberg, George V. McGowan, the Modell Family, and the 2005 honoree, William J. White, president of Shoppers Food.

“Among his many accomplishments as president of the GBC, Fry has worked tirelessly on issues that include nurturing the growth of life sciences, minority business development, improving mass transit, crime reduction, and education reform,” states an MS news release announcing Fry as this year’s honoree. “His dedication to such projects as downtown revitalization, the development of two bioscience parks, plans to ‘bridge the gap’ between large companies and minority-owned businesses, and improving fiscal management of Baltimore City Public Schools demonstrates his strong commitment to the region and its future leaders.”

Prior to joining the GBC in 1999, Fry had a distinguished career as a lawyer and legislator, serving as a member of both the Maryland Senate and Maryland House of Delegates during the 1990s.

“I am honored to accept this award from an organization with a strong local presence that is working to end the devastating effects of MS for people throughout Maryland,” said Fry. “This award represents the amazing potential for partnership and growth between Greater Baltimore’s business and non-profit communities, and how we can work together to strengthen our region.”

The 2006 Dinner of Champions is expected to attract more than 750 attendees and raise more than $500,000 for MS research, educational programs and client services. In addition to honoring Fry, the inaugural Edward Duggan Community Champion Award will be presented at this year’s event to recognize three outstanding individuals who have improved the quality of life for individuals living with disabilities in the state of Maryland.

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system affecting the brain and spinal cord. It usually strikes adults in the prime of life, between the ages of 20 and 50. Approximately 400,000 Americans are currently living with the devastating effects of MS, and one new case of MS is diagnosed every hour. While significant advances in research have led to several promising treatments that may alter the underlying disease course of MS, there is still no cure. The Maryland Chapter provides information and referral, medical transportation, support for caregivers and family members, recreational activities, and many other vital programs and services to the more than 5,000 Marylanders living with MS.

Studies show that early and ongoing treatment with an FDA-approved therapy can reduce future disease activity and improve quality of life for many people with multiple sclerosis. People with MS are advised to talk to their health care professionals and contact the National MS Society at 1-800-FIGHT-MS to learn about ways to help manage multiple sclerosis and about current research that may one day reveal a cure.

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