Gala draws supporters for talk on Hadassah’s work on MS

(From left) Linda Jayaram, David Barish and St. Louis Chapter Hadassah President Jenny Schmitz are pictured at the Hadassah event Feb. 14, called, ‘A Love Story – Linda Jayaram, David Barish and Hadassah.’ The program highlighted the medical progress of Multiple Sclerosis patient Jayaram as a participant in a trial of stem cell therapy for MS at Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem.

BY ROBERT A. COHN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF EMERITUS

Hadassah’s gala event, “Framing the Future Encore: A Love Story” at the Jewish Community Center’s Arts & Education Building drew more than 100 members of the St. Louis Chapter of Hadassah. The event was co-chaired by Carol and Michael Staenberg and hosted by Jenny Schmitz, St. Louis Chapter president. Gloria and Sanford Spitzer served as Visionary Sponsors for the festive evening. Falchuk offered warm greetings to the attendees and praised the local chapter for recruiting exactly 300 new members over the past year.

The program featured remarks by Dr. Barbara Green, medical director of the West County Multiple Sclerosis Center on the challenges faced by people living with multiple sclerosis and related diseases and the advances at Hadassah and other facilities in providing treatments and progress towards a possible cure for MS.

“Tonight we cleebrate the promise of stem cell research at Hadassah Medical Organization (HMO) in treating multiple sclerosis,” local Hadassah president Jenny Schmitz said. “About 350,000 people in the United States have MS and suffer from various symptoms, that include limb weakness, muscle spasms and visual disturbances.”

Dramatic and direct testimony of the advances in the use of stem cell replacement therapy was offered by David Barish and his wife Linda Jayaram of Washington, D.C., who appeared in a Hadassah video on her astonishingly successful treatment, and who spoke of their gratitude to Hadassah for this ground-breaking work. Jayaram had been unable to walk without a wheelchair and was in a profoundly weakened condition before she underwent stem cell replacement therapy at the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. She is now able to walk unaided and has regained most of her previously lost muscle strength.

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It was stressed that Jayaram’s recovery was by far the most dramatic of those who have received similar treatment. “About half of the 60 patients who received similar therapy have had some improvement in their condition,” Barish told the group. “We hope that there will be many more stories like those of Linda to give people living with MS and their families hope for a markedly improved quality of life,” he said.