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Progress treating multiple sclerosis spurs MS luncheon fundraising

Jack Rothman and his daughter Alie put the “ask” goal at $100,000. That worked with 780 supporters at the MS Gala Luncheon in Boca West Country Club.

Before the fashion show finale, National Multiple Sclerosis Society mid and south president Robin Hicks Nunley announced $90,000 was raised. That’s not counting tickets, raffles and silent auction items. “We’re changing the world for people with MS,” she said Friday.

New FDA-approved drugs to treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis helped changed her outlook, said 2020 Hope Award honoree Maral Bardakjian. Diagnosed as a young mother 12 years ago, “later my doctor told me I could have a third baby. It meant I was in control of my life, not MS,” she said.

“She has this disease and you can never tell,” said her husband Jack.

Lisa Kornstein Kaufman and Kaufman-Lynn CEO Michael Kaufman, 2019 honorees at the 2020 MS Gala Luncheon in Boca West Saturday.

“Nearly 1 million people in the U.S. are living with MS,” said emcee Dale McLean, a Miami Heat in-arena host.

“The end goal is to raise funds to find a cure,” 2018 honoree Rocco Mangel said in a moving video. The well-known Rocco’s Taco’s & Tequila Bar owner helped raise even more funds at the luncheon. Diagnosed in 2016, “most people I meet have the same outlook,” he said.

Last year’s MS honorees Lisa Kornstein Kaufman and Kaufman Lynn CEO Michael Kaufman attended with her family. Her Scott & Molly’s boutique in the Boca Center had a pop-up shop and raffle prizes. The pre-luncheon reception included shops for everything from handbags to headbands.

Luncheon chair Ila Feld Davidoff announced the national MS Society president and some board members were in the house. Board chair Marcy Hahn-Superstein and Bike MS Revenue committee chair Fred Zuckerman were also singled out. Event co-chairs Monica Goldstein and Carrie T. Schulman got a shoutout.

A Mayda Cisneros Fashion Show with donated Emilio Esteban music closed the afternoon’s program.

By Marci Shatzman

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