At its annual statewide banquet Sunday evening, the Order of the Eastern Star presented the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation with donations to fund research on neurological diseases and multiple sclerosis. The gifts, which totaled $22,000, bring the Eastern Star’s overall donations to OMRF to $134,000 since it selected the foundation as its charitable beneficiary in 2002.
“The Eastern Star has been a dedicated partner in the fight against human disease,” said OMRF’s Emily Rothrock, who accepted the checks at the Eastern Star’s Grand Chapter Convention at the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple in Guthrie. “The gifts from Eastern Star will provide OMRF scientists with much-needed support as they continue to unravel the mysteries of deadly human diseases.”
Two checks were presented to Rothrock at the convention. The first, from the Oklahoma Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, totaled $18,800 and represented monthly collections taken at the 138 chapters statewide. Eastern Star Chapter 77 of Purcell also presented a check for $3,200 as proceeds from its annual Star Bike Ride, which was held on June 9.
“I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to raise for multiple sclerosis and OMRF through the ride,” said DeeAnn Simpson of Purcell, the ride’s organizer and an Eastern Star member. Simpson’s former husband is among 400,000 who suffer from MS, which attacks the body’s central nervous system. The disease can lead to impaired vision and cognitive functioning, as well as a wide range of other problems.
Currently, scientists at OMRF are investigating the role that a common virus may play in bringing about MS. If they are able to establish this virus (known as Epstein-Barr virus) triggers the disease in some people, it could lead to more effective treatments – and perhaps even a vaccine – for the disease.
Eastern Star’s donations also will go to fund research at OMRF on neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. Research at OMRF is exploring the genetics roots of Alzheimer’s as well as novel interventional strategies like vaccination. And this past summer, an experimental Alzheimer’s drug based on OMRF research, began clinical trials, offering real hope against a disease that affects 4.5 million Americans.
The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both men and women may belong. It counts approximately one million members worldwide, including 20,000 Oklahomans, and is dedicated to furthering charity, education, science and fraternity.
Chartered in 1946, OMRF is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute dedicated to understanding and developing more effective treatments for human disease. In addition to Alzheimer’s and MS, its scientists also focus on such critical research areas as cancer, lupus and cardiovascular disease.