Dress The Heroes

11 Happy Anniversary E xactly 35 years ago, the MS Center at Holy Name was in its infancy and people with multiple sclerosis were look- ing at a bleak path. Physicians had no treatment options, they could only help manage symptoms. Yet the leaders at Holy Name were already looking to the future and setting the groundwork for years of clinical trials that would provide the most advanced diagnostics and treatment options. Steadily, the MS Center gained prominence for giving personalized care and being the first in the region to offer medications that addressed the disease. Patients travelled great dis- tances for a diagnosis and treatment. They were reeling after seeing doctors who either knew nothing about MS or coldly advised them to quit their jobs, stop planning to have a family and find good wheelchairs. Not at Holy Name, where staff members with extensive clinical ex- perience helped patients manage their disease and lead fulfilling lives. Exten- sive research continued, more medica- tions became available and some very forward-thinking philanthropists saw the importance of the critical work be- ing done at what is now The Alfiero & Lucia Palestroni Foundation Multiple Sclerosis Center. “The Alfiero & Lucia Palestroni Foundation Board and I are hon- ored to support the MS Center,” Lucia Palestroni said. “We feel that it is im- portant to provide assistance to those suffering from multiple sclerosis and we are proud that Holy Name is able to provide such a wonderful treatment facility to those in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area.” Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease of the brain and central ner- vous system. The immune system eats away at the protec- tive covering (my- elin) of nerves, causing inflammation and dis- rupting communication between the brain and the body. Symptoms vary but typically in- clude vision loss, fatigue, memory loss, pain and impaired coordination. Though the cause is not known, researchers be- lieve a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors, even in- cluding what people eat, plays a huge role in who develops the disease. Moving Forward Several years after the MS Center opened in 1985, the late Lawrence R. Inserra was travelling to large med- ical centers, searching for a doctor who could tell him what was causing his neurological symptoms. His years- long quest, like so many other patients, eventually led him to Holy Name. Family members were so gratified with the care he received that they have steadfastly supported the MS Center financially for decades. The Lawrence R. Inserra Leadership Award is given each year in his memory to a person who helps advance MS awareness. “Dr. Picone knew exactly what was wrong with my father and helped him keep his disease in check for the rest of his life,” Lawrence R. Inserra, Jr. said. “We are still grateful and so impressed to The Alfiero & Lucia Palestroni Foundation Multiple Sclerosis Center THE ALF I ERO & LUC I A PALESTRONI FOUNDAT ION MULT I PLE SCLEROS I S CENTER WRITTEN BY BARBARA BERMUDEZ • PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFF RHODE We are still grateful and so impressed with the work and people at the MS Center, which continues to help thousands of MS patients live normal lives.” - Lawrence R. Inserra, Jr. Son of MS patient Lawrence R. Inserra