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Muscular Dystrophy Association and Strength, Science & Stories of Inspiration to Announce Neuromuscular Disease Fellowship Award

Recipient to be honored at SSSI’s 4th Annual Benefit Event

CHICAGO, Sept. 28, 2017 — The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and Strength, Science & Stories of Inspiration (SSSI) will honor the recipient of the 2017 SSSI-MDA Fellowship Award at SSSI’s 4th Annual Benefit event on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. The fellowship will provide $40,000 over two years to a promising postdoctoral scholar, Maya Maor Nof, from Stanford University to support a high-risk, high reward research project in neuromuscular disease.

“MDA is pleased to partner with SSSI to offer this award, which allows a promising, early- stage scientist to pursue a highly innovative project that would otherwise not have support,” said Lianna Orlando, Ph.D., MDA Scientific Program Officer. “In addition to the potential of the project to transform our understanding of disease pathogenesis, making a positive difference now in the career of an up-and-coming researcher is an investment in a more hopeful future for the individuals and families we serve.”

The 4th Annual Strength, Science & Stories of Inspiration Benefit event, which will bring together key stakeholders in the neuromuscular disease community, is scheduled for 7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017 at MIT Kresge Auditorium in Cambridge, Mass. Tickets range in price from $25 - $65 per person. The event features Rob Besecker, a motivational speaker and author living with myotonic dystrophy type 2 (DM2), and Monkol Lek, a biomedical scientist living with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD). Both Rob and Monkol, thriving in their respective fields, will share stories that will inspire others to persevere.

Following awarding of the fellowship, Comedy Central regular, world-renowned comedian and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) family member Max Amini will perform a headlining comedy show. Born to Iranian parents who immigrated to the U.S., Max started a stand-up comedy show, named "Exotic Imports," featuring second-generation Americans coming from diverse cultural backgrounds. Recently, Max's father bravely fought a personal battle against ALS.

“SSSI is thrilled to team up with MDA to help launch the career of a young investigator in the neuromuscular disease field,” said Chris Anselmo, Co-organizer of SSSI. “We’re excited to be joined by Rob Besecker, Monkol Lek, and Max Amini in hosting the 4th Annual Strength, Science, and Stories of Inspiration Benefit event to raise awareness for muscle disease, bring key stakeholders together, and facilitate new relationships that are sure to move neuromuscular disease research forward.”

SSSI is grateful for the generous support of their donors, including Solid Biosciences, Valerion Therapeutics, Expansion Therapeutics, and Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI).

About MDA
MDA is leading the fight to free individuals — and the families who love them — from the harm of muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle-debilitating diseases that take away physical strength, independence and life. We use our collective strength to help kids and adults live longer and grow stronger by finding research breakthroughs across diseases; caring for individuals from day one; and empowering families with services and support in hometowns across America. Learn how you can fund cures, find care and champion the cause at

About Strength, Science & Stories of Inspiration (SSSI)
SSSI was founded by three muscle biologists from the MIT/Harvard community who have immediate family members affected by muscle diseases. Shortly thereafter, they were joined by a fourth organizer living with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy. Their aim is to raise awareness for neuromuscular diseases, facilitate interactions between stakeholders in the muscle disease community, and offer financial support, through competitive research fellowships, to recruit the next generation of bright young scientists to join the fight against muscle disease. By working together, patients, scientists, biotech, and pharmaceutical companies can make more rapid progress towards finding new cures.

Learn more about SSSI and its previous events at