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Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Annual ALS Fundraiser ‘Night of Hope Gala’ in Atlanta Honors Control Southern Leadership and Staff

ATLANTA, GA, February 27, 2024 – The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) announced today the 17th annual MDA Atlanta Night of Hope Gala: A Benefit for ALS Research presented by CITGO Petroleum Corporation, will be held on Saturday, March 23, 2024, from 6-11pm at the InterContinental Buckhead Hotel to raise critical funds for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig's disease) research and care. Since the inception of MDA, the organization has invested more than $176 million in ALS research and millions more in support of MDA/ALS Care Centers including at Emory University School of Medicine. This event has raised over $11.2 million. Tickets and sponsorships may be purchased here.

Image of 5 people standing and sitting in a Control Sothern office.
Photo L to R: 2024 MDA Atlanta Night of Hope Gala Honors Control Southern for their commitment to employees and their families living with ALS. Doug Turner, President & CEO, Control Southern; Kim Burton, Kristi Hudgens, Chris Donegan, Jordan Cain.

Control Southern, based in Suwannee, GA, will receive the 2024 MDA Steve Ennis Hope Award, in honor and memory of employees that have been impacted by ALS. Control Southern’s connection with ALS began in 2008, when Vice President of Sales, Chris Donegan was diagnosed. At that time, Control Southern started supporting events and causes that supported ALS research, including MDA Atlanta Night of Hope. Since that time, three additional Control Southern employees have been impacted by ALS, including 2023 Night of Hope Honoree, Joe Cain. Joe’s son, Jordan Cain, is an employee at Control Southern and is Co-Chairing the 2024 Night of Hope Gala in memory of his father.

Doug Turner, President and CEO of Control Southern, has remained committed to supporting employees diagnosed with ALS and their loved ones, never wavering. In addition to Mr. Donegan’s diagnosis, retired employee Kim Burton cared for her husband Jim Burton through his diagnosis with ALS; CS employee Jordan Cain, son of Joe Cain an executive leader who passed away from ALS in 2022 and was the honoree at last year’s gala; CS employee Kristi Hudgens’ father was recently diagnosed with ALS and receiving care at the MDA/ALS Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.

Control Southern President and CEO, Doug Turner said, “I feel confident in saying that ALS has been placed in our path in such a significant way, that we have a responsibility to invest in research so that one day there is a cure. We are honored to accept the Steve Ennis Hope Award on behalf of the Control Southern employees that have faced ALS with strength, integrity, and courage: Chris Donegan; Kim Burton, in memory of her husband Jim; Jordan Cain, in memory of his father, Joe; and Kristi Hudgens, in honor of her father. We are proud to continue our partnership in the efforts to end ALS with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and commend their unwavering commitment to research, care, and advocacy for ALS families.”

“The Steve Ennis Hope award recognizes Control Southern’s dedication to not only supporting critical ALS research and care, but also their commitment and leadership as they support their employees through a devastating diagnosis of ALS,” said Tracy Denton, Senior Vice President, Development Partnerships, MDA. “Doug Turner is a role model for all leaders, and we at Muscular Dystrophy Association are proud to acknowledge Control Southern. Their support of this fundraiser allows us to support families through our mission programming including the MDA Resource Center, MDA/ALS Care Centers, research funding, family connect programming, educational resources and so much more. MDA has been focused on accelerating treatments, advancing care, and advocating for access to treatments for families for decades, and we are grateful for the continued engagement by Control Southern and the dedicated committee members and sponsors.”

In addition to the MDA funding of over $176 million in ALS research worldwide, millions more in support have funded multidisciplinary medical teams in the MDA Care Center Network. With over 150 locations nationwide, there are 47 designated MDA/ALS Care Center locations at the country’s top medical institutions. Today, through the MDA Care Center Network, people diagnosed with ALS are connected to clinical trials faster than ever before, and through the organization’s funding there are now more clinical trials than ever before. Just last year, the first treatment for a genetic form or ALS was approved by FDA and MDA continues to advocate for access to treatments among many other needs of our community members.

“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,” said Jonathan Glass, MD, Director of MDA/ALS Care Center at Emory School of Medicine. “I was at the first MDA Night of Hope gala 17 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. The number of biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms developing new drugs for ALS is now larger than it has ever been thanks in large part to the commitment of the Muscular Dystrophy Association for decades. 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. At Emory, with the help of funding from MDA, we focus on the care of ALS patients and families who depend on clinicians and scientists like me to find answers.”

About Control Southern

Control Southern is an integrated solutions provider helping manufacturing plants in the Southeast run better, faster and smarter through automation and customized valve solutions. We are committed to improving our customers’ performance with measurable results while making the greatest use of the world’s valuable resources.

Control Southern core values include integrity, safety & quality, innovation and collaboration.

About MDA’s Steve Ennis Hope Award

In 2010, the Hope Award was created to honor Steve Ennis, former chairman of the board of Coca-Cola Bottling Works of Tullahoma. Steve was diagnosed with ALS in July 2005 and lost his battle with the disease in January 2012. His strength, determination and hope have remained a cornerstone of this event and its supporters. Each year, it is an honor to recognize an individual or organization that has shown a commitment to supporting critical research, care and advocacy for the ALS Community.

MDA Night of Hope Committee

2024 Co-Chairs: Jordan Cain and Jordan Ennis

Kathy Allen, Tom & Lauren Antonino, Laura Ballance, Lisa Barr, Elaine Bauer, Pam Bohner, Alisa Cain, Sam Cambria, Debra Cox, Susan Ebert, Harry & Jaime Foster, Natalie Herndon, Sheri Hofherr, Carl Johnson, Amy Kearney, Janna Maresco, Dr. Leslie Neely, Libby Patrick, Brigitte & Bill Peck, Kaleigh Petree, Hayden Poole, Holly & Palmer Proctor, John Sellers, J.C. Scates, Amy & Greg Spivia, Ed Tessaro, Jordan Tessaro, Carmen Titleman, Julie Turner and Mark Wolff

MDA Night of Hope Sponsors

Presenting: CITGO

Champions: Control Southern, Choate Construction and MasTec Advanced Technologies

Stars: Ameris Bank, Sandy Ennis, Big Green Egg, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, DIRECTV, DIRECTV for Business, SYNERGIES3 TEC SERVICES and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America

Media partners: Modern Luxury

Please visit the event website for a full list of event sponsors.

Updates will be posted here.

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 mda.org and follow MDA on Instagram, Facebook, X, Threads, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube.