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Muscular Dystrophy Association's Annual ALS Fundraiser 'Night of Hope Gala' in Atlanta Honors the Late Joe Cain with His Wife Alisa Cain & Family

ATLANTA, GA, March 7, 2023 – The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) will hold the 16th annual MDA Atlanta Night of Hope Gala: A Benefit for ALS Research on Saturday, March 25, 2023, 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 $174 million in ALS research. This event has raised over $10.5 million for MDA's ALS research program and MDA's ALS Care Center at Emory University School of Medicine. Tickets and sponsorships may be purchased here.

A Woman standing next to a man in a wheelchair on a pier.
Alisa and Joe Cain in 2022

Alisa Cain and family will receive the 2023 MDA Steve Ennis Hope Award, in memory of her beloved late husband Joe Cain who passed away from ALS in November 2022. This honor recognizes their dedication to making a difference in the challenging world of ALS. Mr. Cain was diagnosed in 2020 after experiencing some exhaustion and weakness in his legs, and received care from MDA Care Center Director, Dr. Jonathan Glass at the MDA/ALS Care Center at Emory University School of Medicine. After receiving the diagnosis, the Cain family was determined to find every avenue to live and thrive with their new reality. Mr. Cain's mindset had been, "You have to wake up each morning grateful for that day and choose to be a positive light and influence on others in the best way you can to the best of your ability!" Read the family story here.

"ALS is a thief. It steals so much. I hope to raise more awareness about what ALS is and make more strides in funding research so we can assure our children and their children that an ALS diagnosis isn't a two-to-five-year death sentence. Any disease diagnosis is scary and will rattle you but not break all of you. Currently ALS breaks you. Let's be the generation that changes that. Let's let our HOPE be the guide to get us there," said Mrs. Cain.

"We're coming together as a community to celebrate the life of our honoree, Joe Cain, and give strength to his family," said Jeremy Kraut-Ordover, Chief Development Officer, MDA. "Through MDA's investments in ALS research and care we are seeing great progress. Fundraising events like the ‘Night of Hope' help us accelerate treatments and advance care for people diagnosed with this devastating disease. We are so grateful for the continued engagement by the Cain family, alongside our dedicated committee members and sponsors."

"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 Dr. Glass. "I was at the first MDA Night of Hope gala 16 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. 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 the Muscular Dystrophy Association, we focus on the care of ALS patients and families who depend on clinicians and scientists like me to find answers."

About Joe Cain

Mr. Cain graduated from Clemson University, majoring in Electrical Engineering and led a successful career spanning 26 years with Emerson and Control Southern where he served as a Senior Vice President and on the advisory board. Years prior to being diagnosed with the disease, Mr. Cain learned a good friend and coworker was diagnosed with ALS and took action by getting involved with the MDA Night of Hope Gala. In Mr. Cain's memory, Mrs. Cain continues to encourage and help others with their ALS journey through MDA's mission.

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 who has shown strength, integrity, and grace when faced with ALS to raise awareness build upon the community to invest in funding research to end ALS.

MDA Night of Hope Committee

Co-Chairs, Deanna Dickinson and Amy Spivia; Executive Committee, Kathy Allen, Lauren & Tom Antonino, Laura Ballance, Elaine Hough Bauer, Sam Cambria, Debra Cox, Susan Ebert, Ginger & Jordan Ennis, Jaime & Harry Foster, Sheri Hofherr, Polly Hogue, Barbara Jennings, Janna Maresco, Leslie Neely, Craig Norton, Libby & Carl Patrick, Brigitte & Bill Peck, Kaleigh Petree, Hayden Poole, Holly & Palmer Proctor, J.C. Scates, Greg Spivia, Judy & Ed Tessaro, Jordan Tessaro, Carmen Titelman, Julie Turner, Sean Weatherspoon and Mark Wolff.

MDA Night of Hope Sponsors

  • Champions: Choate Construction and Control Southern
  • Stars: Ameris Bank, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Raymond James, The Edward R Fisher Charitable Foundation, Big Green Egg, Tito's Handmade Vodka
  • Winners: Helen and Jimmy Carlos, Northside Hospital, Shah Family Foundation, Southeastern Containers
  • Media partners: Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine, Modern Luxury

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, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, and YouTube.