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Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Wings Over Wall Street Gala Features the Most Influential Leaders Accelerating Research for ALS

Gala pays tribute to leading voices living with ALS and allies in the fight to end the disease.

NEW YORK – April 22, 2024 – Muscular Dystrophy Association's (MDA) 24th annual Wings Over Wall Street Gala, will be held Thursday, June 6 beginning at 6pm with a cocktail reception, followed by 7:30-9:30pm dinner and awards program at The Edison Ballroom in the heart of Times Square in New York City. Funds raised will go towards MDA's ALS research, to keep the pipeline of promising therapeutics and a cure moving forward for people living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease). Funds raised support MDA/ALS multidisciplinary medical teams providing clinical care and scientific research for families at the MDA/ALS Care Center at Columbia Medical Center’s Eleanor and Lou Gehrig ALS Center, and The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

ABC Eyewitness News Anchor, Bill Ritter, will once again host the event which honors leading advocates Fern Cohen and Brooke Eby, both living with ALS, with the Spirit Award; committed supporters Joann Wright in memory of her husband Victor Wright who served nearly 40 years on the MDA Board of Directors with the Beier Award; and clinical and scientific advancements with Toby Ferguson, MD, PhD, and Stephanie Fradette, PharmaD with the Diamond Award. Tickets and sponsorships for the event are available here. Those unable to attend the event can show their support by donating here.

Image of various people in different settings.
ABC Eyewitness News Anchor Bill Ritter to host, Muscular Dystrophy Association’s 24th Annual Wings Over Wall Street Gala to Benefit ALS Research. The event honorees pictured L to R: Toby Ferguson, MD, PhD, Fern Cohen, Brooke Eby, Victor Wright (honored posthumously, his wife Joann will accept the award), Stephanie Fradette PharmaD.

“This event is so personal to our family because we have lost loved ones to ALS, a devastating disease. Since we started funding research with Muscular Dystrophy Association, we have seen growth in treatment medications, improved understanding of the disease itself, a hopefulness in the research community that is building, and the satisfaction that we are doing our small part to ensure that the silenced voices of the people who we’ve lost to ALS, or lost their ability to speak are still heard,” said Warren J. Schiffer, Co-founder of MDA Wings Over Wall Street with his brother Larry P. Schiffer.

"I am deeply honored to receive MDA’s Wings Over Wall Street Spirit Award," said Brooke Eby, ALS advocate and patient. "Everyone diagnosed with ALS deserves recognition. ALS strikes without warning, affecting individuals regardless of age or family history. The devastating impact of this disease demands urgent action. With humor as my shield, I've chosen to confront ALS head-on. Supported by loved ones, my colleagues at Salesforce, and the MDA community, I face this challenge with courage and gratitude. Together, we will end ALS, but I’m living in dog years now, at the speed of ALS and there’s no time to waste."

"The support raised from this event remains indispensable in propelling progress and discovering therapies for ALS," highlighted Sharon Hesterlee, PhD, Chief Research Officer, MDA. "Presently, we're funding research at the MDA/ALS Care Center at Columbia Medical Center’s Eleanor and Lou Gehrig ALS Center to develop personalized antisense oligonucleotides for those with rare genetic forms of the disease and research at The Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine to investigate cellular stress pathways in the pathology of ALS. Our strategy encompasses funding every stage of ALS research, from initial discovery to the approval of innovative therapies."

About the honorees:

  • The Spirit Award: Fern Cohen and Brooke Eby

Fern Cohen was diagnosed in 2004 and has been a longtime supporter of Wings Over Wall Street. During her 20 years as a sales executive in the airline and hotel industry, she travelled throughout the world, until joining the NYC Department of Education as a teacher of languages. Today, she dedicates her time to ALS causes, raising awareness through her writing. Brooke Eby was diagnosed with ALS in 2022, several years after symptoms began, and became a leading voice reaching millions to raise awareness and funds through her social media platforms. Both women have demonstrated extraordinary commitment and dedication to the eradication of ALS by raising awareness, advocating for funding, and promoting research for a cure.

  • The Beier Award: Joann Wright will accept this award in memory of her husband, Victor Wright

This award is named in honor of MDA Wings Over Wall Street co-chair, Michael P. Beier. Mr. Wright served as a tireless advocate on MDA’s Board of Directors for nearly 40 years and was a member of the MDA Wings Over Wall Street Committee. His dedication, inspired by a personal connection to MDA’s mission, has had impact on fundraising for research in his relentless pursuit to improve the lives of people living with ALS.

  • The Diamond Award: Toby Ferguson, MD, PhD and Stephanie Fradette, PharmD

This award is named in honor of Wings Over Wall Street co-founder Toni Diamond, is given to a scientific leader dedicated to the eradication of ALS. Dr. Ferguson is a neurologist and neuroscientist who joined Biogen in 2013 and has since become the Chief Medical Officer at Voyager Therapeutics. He plays a key role in developing clinical trials across his therapeutic areas and in driving clinical and preclinical strategy within neurodegenerative disease more broadly. He also helped to successfully develop Qalsody (tofersen) an ASO indicated for the treatment SOD1 ALS. Dr. Fradette has spent the last 14 years in various roles across Research and Development, including Safety, Regulatory, and Clinical Development. Recently, she led the development of the first approved therapy for a genetic form of ALS (SOD1-ALS), which supported significant advancement of neurofilament as a biomarker and optimization of clinical trial design in ALS.

Committee members and event sponsors:

Warren J. Schiffer, Co-founder of MDA’s Wings Over Wall Street, with Wings Over Wall Street Committee members Anjan Aralihalli, Jim Condron, Praneetha Desu, Brandon Hanna, Lauren Horak, Danielle Jaycox, Morgan Jaycox, Susan Jaycox, Grace Oakley, Jamie Schiffer, Larry P. Schiffer, Neil A. Shneider, Kimberly Unger, Lisa Marie Utasi, Jenna Walsh.

CITGO, IEX, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Victor R. Wright Foundation, Biogen, CBOE, USI, Voyager Therapeutics, Aegis

MDA’s Wings Over Wall Street Background:

Read more about the history of MDA's Wings Over Wall Street here. Read more about this event in MDA’s Quest Media here.

MDA's ALS Background:

MDA's funding continues to accelerate research, advance care, and empower people diagnosed through advocacy. Recent advances include the FDA approval of the first treatment for a genetic form of the disease called SOD-1 ALS. MDA Care Center Network includes 17 locations across New York state including five designated MDA/ALS Care Centers in New York at Columbia University Medical Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, SUNY Upstate Medical University, The Lewis Golub Clinic at St. Peter's Hospital, and University of Rochester Medical Center.

MDA has led funding in ALS since Eleanor Gehrig became the organization's ALS Campaign Chairman in the 1950s. MDA's mission to end ALS includes investing more than $176 million in cutting edge research, additional support for 47 designated MDA/ALS Care Center's nationwide, MDA's Resource Center, and community and professional education. For more information visit

About Muscular Dystrophy Association

Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) is the #1 voluntary health organization in the United States for people living with muscular dystrophy, ALS, and related neuromuscular diseases. For over 70 years, MDA has led the way in accelerating research, advancing care, and advocating for the support of our families. MDA's mission is to empower the people we serve to live longer, more independent lives. To learn more visit and follow MDA on Instagram, Facebook, X, Threads, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube.