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MDA's Wings Over Wall Street® 2016

Wings' 16th Gala took place again at The Lighthouse, Pier 61, Chelsea Piers, a spectacular location on the Hudson River. Great food, great music by Trading Band, and a great atmosphere. Jon Najarian from CNBC did a fantastic job holding down double duty as Wings Chair and event emcee. We had a great research minutes auction and our first Wine Pull sold out in a flash. The silent auction went well and IEX K-Day was a phenomenal success resulting in a donation to Wings in excess of $71,000. Net totals doubled 2015 and are in excess of $407,000. This brought our lifetime total to well over $11 million to unlock the cure for ALS.

The Spirit Award was given to Patrick Beaton, PhD, Professor Emeritus, New Jersey Institute of Technology, where he taught economics in the School of Humanities.  The Diamond Award was presented to Dr. Dale Lange, Chairman of Neurology and Neurologist-in-Chief at Hospital for Special Surgery and a Professor of Neurology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.  The Beier Award went to our own John Schwall, COO of IEX Group and a past chair of Wings. We also had a phenomenal Presenting Sponsor in MT Pharma America.

The on-line auction was one of the highlights, with the winner dining with Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary (Mr. Wonderful) at Ocean Prime. The winning bid was a phenomenal $34,000, which was made by Alex Edson, the 18-year old CEO of Power TV.


MDA's Wings Over Wall Street® 2017

2017 brought us consistency and change at the same time. The Gala took place again at The Lighthouse, Pier 61, at Chelsea Piers and The Trading Band provided fantastic music.  Our Presenting Sponsor was again Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America (it's new name) and Wings was chaired again by Dr. J, John Najaran.  IEX held another trading day for Wings that raised over $76,000.

Wings 2017 welcomed new President & CEO of the MDA, Lynn O'Conner Vos, who joined us at Wings along with many MDA Board members and new Executive Vice President & Chief Revenue Officer, Karen Lewis Alexander. We can't see where Lynn takes the MDA (and Wings) into the future of finding cures and serving patients.

Wings 2017 was emceed by the great Bill Ritter from Channel 7 Eyewitness News.  Bill did a phenomenal job as emcee.  Wings also had the distinct pleasure of presenting the Spirit Award to one of the co-founders of the Ice Bucket Challenge, Patrick Quinn.  Pat and his family were an integral part of Wings 2017 and Pat's Dad made a great acceptance speech on Pat's behalf that touched us all.  The Diamond Award was presented to Dr. Terry Heiman-Patterson, professor of neurology and Director of the Neurodegenerative Disease Center at Temple University's Lewis Katz School of Medicine. On the ALS front, Dr. Patterson is a co-founder and President of the ALS Hope Foundation. Finally, Wings presented the Beier Award to Jim Jansen from Google.  Jim started an ALS swim in Amsterdam to honor his friend Jan Weerts and was President of the New Amsterdam City Swim in the Hudson River.

Financially, Wings 2017 raised over $340,000 to help unlock the cure for ALS.  


MDA's Wings Over Wall Street® 2018

The 2018 Wings Gala took place at a new venue; the IAC Building designed by Frank Gehry.  Along with a new venue, Wings shifted from a print journal to digital ads on one of the largest media walls you will ever see.  Our presenting sponsor was IEX and The Trading Band was back with us again to provide the music.

We were grateful to have Bill Ritter from Channel 7 Eyewitness News back as our emcee.  Bill did a phenomenal job once again.  We also had a series of special guests who spoke to the audience about their experiences.  Our guests included Ruth Fitzmaurice, author of “I Found My Tribe,” who joined us in honor of her husband Simon, on the one-year anniversary of his passing. Simon published his own memoir, "It's Not Yet Dark," about his experience with ALS.  Assisting Ruth was Tony Award winning actor and director, James Naughton, who gave a stirring reading on an excerpt from Ruth's book.  

We were also joined by Sharlee Jeter, chief executive officer of the Turn 2 Foundation (founded by her brother, Derek Jeter) and co-author of "The Stuff," which correlates the elements of hope, determination and teamwork to unlock cures, will also be in attendance.  Sharlee and her co-author, Dr. Sampson Davis, gave us a short talk about teamwork and hope.

Our honorees in 2018 were well-deserving as usual and interesting.  They were Wings Committee member Anjan Aralihalli, venture partner for CTI Life Sciences, who received the Beier Award. AJ has worked tirelessly with the biotech and pharma industries to work on cures for ALS.  He was there with his brother and gave a wonderful speech.  

Matthew B. Harms, MD of Columbia University Department of Neurology received the Diamond Award for his work directing an international effort with whole genome and transcriptome sequencing to bring precision medicine to ALS treatments.  Dr. Harms also spoke eloquently about how genetic research is moving closer every day to treatments and a cure.  

Finally, Claudia Fleming, proprietor and pastry chef at North Fork Table & Inn, and Stephan Bogardus,  who was then executive chef at North Fork Table & Inn, received the Spirit Award for their efforts with Claudia's husband, Gerry Hayden, in working tirelessly to raise funds to find a cure for ALS. When Gerry, a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement, was diagnosed with ALS, Stephan became his mentor's hands at the restaurant.  Claudia and Stephan gave a touching speech about their experiences.

Financially, Wings 2018 brought our total over $12 million to help unlock the cure for ALS. 


MDA’s Wings Over Wall Street© 2019

Now for something completely different.  In an effort to consolidate all MDA-ALS activity in conjunction with ALS Awareness month in May, Wings 2019 moved from the fall to May.  This was a bit of a shock to everyone, including our sponsors and donors who had just joined us some seven months earlier.  Nevertheless, we persisted.

Wings 2019 returned again to the famous IAC Building and continued to use digital ads on a giant media wall in lieu of an event journal.  The program opened with a series of musical numbers by Broadway For All, an organization whose mission is to transform the American stage and screen to reflect the diversity of America. Broadway for All trains young artists from all income levels and all ethnic backgrounds in a world-class conservatory--led by professionals from the Broadway, television, and film industries--in order to shape a new generation of artists, leaders, and advocates who are impassioned to create inclusive work for all.

Bill Ritter, long-time anchor on Eyewitness News on ABC Channel 7, graciously joined us again as emcee.  Bill, ever the pro, deftly maneuvered around the loss of sound during the presentation part of the event.  Thankfully, the sound came back on eventually.

Sponsored once again by IEX Group, Inc. as our Platinum Sponsor, we were thrilled to have Victor Wright, retired partner from Goldman Sachs and long-time MDA Board Member, be our Honorary Chair for Wings.  We were also happy to honor long-time Wings supporter and the former President & CEO of the Security Traders Association and former Executive Vice President of NASDAQ, John Tognino, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Pepper Financial Group, with the Beier Award.  John was close with Mike Beier so this meant a lot to John.

Wings also honored Dr. Neil Shneider, the Director of the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig ALS Center at Columbia University Medical Center, with the Diamond Award.  Dr. Shneider has agreed to join the Wings Committee and will be an integral part of the future of Wings, not to mention research to unlock the cure for ALS.  The Wings Spirit Award was bestowed upon Cindy Poiesz, Managing Partner of EVOLVE Brands.  Cindy’s father died from ALS and she has been an advocate for ALS research ever since he was diagnosed.  There were some terrific videos shown of the honorees and others speaking about their experiences with ALS and why Wings is so important to unlocking the cure.

We had a great silent, live and wine pull auction and another incredible live research donation segment led by our fantastic auctioneer.  Wings also was honored to have as part of Wings 2019 a special art installation by artist Jim Condron, Jr., called “Close to You,” which he created to honor his mother, the late Karen Condron, a past Spirit Award honoree.

Financially, Wings 2019 raised a modest amount that should exceed $225,000 by the end of the year when some additional donations are expected.  That brings our 19-year total to around $12.5 million in funds to help unlock the cure for ALS.


Stay tuned as MDA's Wings Over Wall Street® continues to provide significant funds to the MDA-ALS Research Initiative and the research teams at Columbia and Johns Hopkins in 2019 and beyond until a cure is found.