LAS VEGAS — The Muscular Dystrophy Association has named Scott Crane of Northbrook, Ill., the recipient of its Robert Ross National Personal Achievement Award for 2012.
The award was announced Sept. 4 on the national broadcast of the 2011 MDA Labor Day Telethon.
Crane, 23, was chosen from among scores of recipients of statewide awards, based on his personal achievements and his work on behalf of others with disabilities, including helping to found a charity called “In Chef’s Hands – Food Therapy for the Soul” www.inchefshands.org.
Sadly, Crane, who was affected by the muscle disease myotubular myopathy, died on the same day the letter announcing the award arrived at his home. He nevertheless leaves a powerful legacy of joy, hope and dedication to caring that will continue in his name.
About Scott Crane
Scott Crane was affected by centronuclear myopathy, a progressive muscle disease in which cell nuclei are mislocated in the muscle fibers. The particular form he had, myotubular myopathy, causes extreme muscle weakness, lack of muscle tone and breathing difficulties from birth. The disease was diagnosed when Scott was 4 years old, and he began using a wheelchair in junior high.
After graduating from high school, Scott Crane attended community college and worked part time at the Corner Bakery Café near his home in Northbrook. He served patrons using a tray on his power chair and received so many compliments for his work that the restaurant gave him a customer service award.
In his spare time, Crane volunteered at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, mentoring young patients and reaching out to those who were having a difficult time. He also worked for the disability-rights organization Open Doors, evaluating the accessibility of accommodations for the guidebook “Easy Access Chicago.”
Crane also actively supported MDA throughout his life by volunteering at the Chicago broadcast of the Telethon, Lock-Ups, restaurant fundraisers, Chicago Harley-Davidson motorcycle rallies, and other events.
Crane’s most lasting contribution to his community came about as a result of his love of cooking and eating. In the fall of 2009, while recuperating from a long hospital stay, he was introduced to prominent Chicago chef Rodelio Aglibot (known as the “Food Buddha”), and the two became friends.
With the assistance of Aglibot and others, Crane organized a charity to bring together prominent chefs and children and adults with special needs. The nonprofit “In Chef’s Hands – Food Therapy for the Soul” seeks to provide fun and enriching “culinary educational experiences” both for people with disabilities and professional chefs.
As Crane said, “Cooking heals the soul. We nurture ourselves while nurturing others.”
Crane also started a food blog, (http://livetoeatcookingtherapy.wordpress.com/), and began to put together a cookbook to help raise money for Midwest Hospice that cared for him during his rehabilitation.
Since Crane’s death, his mother has been helping to complete the cookbook project. The “In Chef’s Hands” charity also is going forward; more than 600 people attended the initial fundraiser, held just three days after Crane’s death, and some 18 Chicago-area chefs have volunteered to participate.
Crane always maintained a positive attitude and wonderful spirit as reflected in two of his favorite sayings that he included in all of his email communication – “Spread smiles to everybody, everywhere, each and every day” and “Eat well, laugh often, live and love life.”
“MDA is deeply saddened by the death of Scott Crane, and honored to name him the recipient of the 2012 Robert Ross National Personal Achievement Award,” said MDA President & CEO Gerald C. Weinberg. “Through his extensive volunteer work on behalf of people with disabilities, Scott exemplified the fine character and generous spirit that is the hallmark of this award.”
About the Personal Achievement Award
Initiated in 1992, the Robert Ross Personal Achievement Award (PAA) recognizes the exemplary accomplishments and community service of people who are affected by one of the more than 40 neuromuscular diseases in MDA’s program.
It is named in honor of Robert Ross, MDA’s longtime chief executive who passed away in June, 2006. Ross created the PAA to demonstrate to the public that disability is no obstacle to achievement.
Scott Crane succeeds the 2011 National PAA recipient, Thomas Arrington III of Chesapeake, Va. A green-energy entrepreneur and disability rights activist, Arrington is affected by facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD).
MDA is the nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing and finding treatments for muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases by funding worldwide research. The Association also provides comprehensive health care and support services, advocacy and education.
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