A crowd 450 strong showed up at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, for the annual On the Move Luncheon benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The luncheon, sponsored in part by CultureMap, was filled with touching speeches from those affected by the unpredictable and often disabling disease.
The day’s theme was “Tackle MS,” in honor of speaker Tyler Campbell, son of football legend Earl Campbell. Tyler was diagnosed with MS at the tender age of 21 while in school at the University of San Diego.
The diagnosis may have ended his football career, but, for him, it was the start of a new path: to share his story to help others living with the disease and to make an impact on the community.
While guests lunched on tortilla soup and grilled chicken salad, emcee Matthew Nordgren introduced event chairs Paula and Scott Burford, who graciously took the stage and spoke of their lives as affected by MS.
The Burfords then introduced honorary chairs Jean and Walker Bateman, tireless Dallas philanthropists and champions for MS research.
Following those introductions, Elissa Levy, president and founder of MS Hope for a Cure, took the stage to tell her story. After a devastating diagnosis in her early 30s, her health deteriorated quickly, and she ended up in a wheelchair.
Miraculously, Levy was among precious few “super responders” to an experimental drug that freed her from her wheelchair. Her message of hope and the importance of research inspired many in the room who are living with the disease.
Dallas Morning News writer and author Kirk Dooley then took the stage and declared, “MS is a bitch,” drawing laughs and nods from the crowd. Dooley then led a Q&A with the charming, articulate and often funny Tyler Campbell, who recounted tales of growing up as Earl Campbell’s son.
Surprisingly, his dad never talked about football. But Tyler said he learned three things from his dad: “Jim Brown was the greatest athlete of all time; yes ma’am and and no ma’am; and all the words to ‘Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys.’”
Spotted in the inspired crowd were Robin Solis, Sandy Raskin, Carol Wertheimer, Jane and Pat Bolin, Janey Bateman, Sid Kothman, Lou Lewis, James Robb, Charlie Burford, Ken Goldberg, and Neil Goldberg.
This year’s On the Move luncheon raised $170,000 for MS research.