MDA Matters Fall 2010

Left to right: MDA National Youth Chairman Luke Christie; a reusable tote designed by New York-artist Charles Fazzino; and Maureen McGovern performs at the 2010 Telethon
by Quest Staff on October 1, 2010 - 10:47am

QUEST Vol. 17, No. 4

Featured in this article: Artist's reusable shopping bag helps MDA * Top honors for Maureen McGovern * Luke Christie encourages students to volunteer with MDA * Jeni Stepanek's book about Mattie now in paperback

Whimsical Fazzino bag benefits MDA

Sales of a limited edition reusable shopping bag designed by renowned 3-D pop artist Charles Fazzino are helping to raise funds for MDA. “Fazzino’s Fabulous NY Apple” bag depicts a fanciful Manhattan cityscape on 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials. Long handles allow an over-the-shoulder carry, with two shorter handles for hand carry.

Fazzino, a popular and highly collected pop artist, is an MDA national vice president (a volunteer position) and has generously helped the Association for more than 10 years by donating many of his works for auction at MDA fundraising events; overseeing the creation of special artwork for the MDA Art Collection; and serving as official artist for the annual MDA Muscle Team event in New York City. Food Emporium is operated by the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P), which operates more than 400 stores under different names in eight states. The bags are being sold at Food Emporium stores in Manhattan for $7.99, and can be ordered from Food Emporium by calling (212) 381-0885.

Top honors for the ‘Stradivarius voice’

MDA has awarded its highest philanthropic achievement honor, the MDA Directors’ Award, to singing virtuoso and longtime MDA supporter Maureen McGovern.

MDA Chairman of the Board R. Rodney Howell, M.D., presented the award to McGovern at the Association’s Board of Directors meeting in Los Angeles July 16.

Often referred to as “the Stradivarius voice” for her spectacular tonal quality, McGovern is a Grammy winner and Gold Record recipient. She has been recognized with honors such as the Aftra Amee Lifetime Sound Recording Award; Nightlife Legend Award; Songs from the Heart Award; and the City University of New York Lifetime Achievement Award for making a positive difference in the lives of students and others with disabilities.

McGovern has performed for 30 consecutive years on the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon and also serves as chairperson of MDA’s annual Shamrocks Against Dystrophy campaign.

Luke and National Beta Club

Beta Club is a national service organization with clubs in junior high and high schools nationwide. MDA National Youth Chairman Luke Christie is a member of his Dixie High School Beta Club (in Due West, S.C.) and they’ve been supporting MDA for a number of years. An executive of the National Beta Club spotted Luke on last year’s Telethon, invited him to visit their national headquarters in Spartanburg, S.C., and before you knew it, the club had agreed to add MDA as a national service project for the upcoming academic year.

Jeni Stepanek's Messenger

Luke, who has spinal muscular atrophy, unveiled the program at the National Beta Club Convention in Louisville, Ky., at the end of June, encouraging some 5,000 junior high students and 3,500 high school students to volunteer and/or fundraise for MDA.

’Messenger’ now in paperback

Congratulations to MDA National Vice President Jeni Stepanek, whose book Messenger: The Legacy of Mattie J.T. Stepanek and Heartsongs, was released in paperback by NAL Trade on September 7.

The book, written with Larry Lindner with a foreword by Maya Angelou, originally came out in hardcover in November 2009. Messenger is an intimate look at the life of Mattie Stepanek, MDA’s former National Goodwill Ambassador (2002-2004), who also was a best-selling poet and tireless advocate for peace — as witnessed through the eyes of his mother.

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