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Country Music Star Clay Walker Supports MS Research
During a rousing and emotional performance March 3 at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, country music star Clay Walker presented a $100,000 check to support multiple sclerosis (MS) research at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
The check, from Walker’s Band Against MSSM Foundation, was presented to Jerry S. Wolinsky, M.D., interim dean of the UT Medical School. Also on stage for the presentation was Ponnada Narayana, Ph.D., director of magnetic resonance imaging research at the Medical School.
“We are delighted that Clay continues to have the confidence in our research programs in multiple sclerosis, particularly in imaging research that is leading to a better understanding of the disease,” said Wolinsky, holder of the Bartels Family and Opal C. Rankin Professorships in Neurology. “And I am particularly happy to see how well Clay is able to run around on stage.”
Wolinsky directs the Multiple Sclerosis Research Group and Magnetic Resonance Imaging Analysis Center at the Medical School. The research group is internationally known for its work with imaging and clinical trials.
“After working with Jerry for the last 10 years, it is obvious why he is one of the leading researchers in MS. He has been a wonderful friend and has relieved the anxiety of managing this disease,” said Walker, who was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS at age 26 in 1996. “It is my personal belief that Band Against MSSM, our foundation, will be a leading contributor in finding the cure for this debilitating disease.”
The gift will be used for imaging research to better understand the basis of the disease. MS is a chronic, autoimmune disease that turns the body’s own defense system into a powerful, destructive weapon aimed at the central nervous system. There is no cure for MS yet, but prescription drugs can help slow its progress and ease symptoms in some patients.
Since 2004, Band Against MSSM has given $350,000 for MS research at the UT Medical School. Walker founded the foundation in 2003 to help others learn more about the disease and provide funding for imaging research, new therapy options and, ultimately, a cure.
By Deborah Mann Lake, Institutional Advancement
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