MDA’s Night of Hope in Atlanta to honor late ALS patient and family

Event raises money for ALS research program, ALS Care Center at Emory

Mary Chapman avatar

by Mary Chapman |

Share this article:

Share article via email
People put their hands together in a circle to illustrate they are all in.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is hosting its 16th annual MDA Atlanta Night of Hope Gala: A Benefit for ALS Research to raise funds for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research and care.

The event will be held 6-11 p.m. EDT March 25 at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta. It will open with a reception and silent auction, followed by dinner, event programming, a live auction, and dancing. Individual tickets are $375 with various pricing available for tables.

Since its inception, the gala has raised more than $10.5 million for the organization’s ALS research program and ALS Care Center at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.

“Participants at this event demonstrate not only a measure of their financial support for ALS research but represent a personal commitment of people’s time and emotion to join us on our mission to discover new treatments that will slow or stop this terrible disease,” Jonathan Glass, MD, director of the MDA/ALS Care Center at Emory University School of Medicine, said in a MDA press release.

Recommended Reading
An illustration shows the words

CNM-Au8 found to delay clinical worsening in ALS HEALEY trial

Honoring the Cain family with 2023 MDA Steve Ennis Hope Award

During the Night of Hope Gala, the organization will also honor late ALS patient Joe Cain and his family with the 2023 MDA Steve Ennis Hope Award. Cain died from ALS complications in November.

The award, which recognizes the family’s dedication to making a difference in the ALS community, will be presented to Cain’s wife Alisa Cain and their family.

“ALS is a thief. It steals so much. I hope to raise more awareness about what ALS is and make more strides in funding research so we can assure our children and their children that an ALS diagnosis isn’t a two-to-five-year death sentence,” said Alisa Cain. “Any disease diagnosis is scary and will rattle you but not break all of you. Currently ALS breaks you. Let’s be the generation that changes that. Let’s let our HOPE be the guide to get us there.”

Her husband was diagnosed in 2020 after experiencing exhaustion and leg weakness and received care from Glass at Emory. Following the diagnosis, the Cain family was determined to make the most of its new reality.

“We’re coming together as a community to celebrate the life of our honoree, Joe Cain, and give strength to his family,” said Jeremy Kraut-Ordover, chief development officer at MDA. “Through MDA’s investments in ALS research and care we are seeing great progress. Fundraising events like the ‘Night of Hope’ help us accelerate treatments and advance care for people diagnosed with this devastating disease. We are so grateful for the continued engagement by the Cain family, alongside our dedicated committee members and sponsors.”

Before his diagnosis, Cain, a graduate of Clemson University with a degree in electrical engineering, learned that a friend and coworker had developed ALS. To show his support, Cain became involved with the Night of Hope fundraiser. In his memory, Alisa Cain  is committed to encouraging and supporting others on their ALS journey.

According to Glass, the current ALS research landscape provides ample reason for hope.

“I was at the first MDA Night of Hope gala 16 years ago, and this amazingly successful fundraising event has grown enormously over the years. Today, we are beginning to see the fruits of the investments made both in basic research and in drug development. There are now two new drugs for ALS on the market that were not available even five years ago,” Glass added. “The number of biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms developing new drugs for ALS is now larger than it has ever been. Important scientific discoveries in ALS are being reported almost daily, and the number of young investigators, both students and junior scientists, who have dedicated their careers to ALS research continues to grow.”

Since its beginning, more than $174 million has been invested in ALS research by the MDA.