Cocktails and Crooning for a Cure
Updated 4:24 pm, Thursday, April 21, 2011
Lind and Jones both live with multiple sclerosis; Lynn used to work at a nursing home and saw patients who were debilitated from the neurological disease. But debilitated is not the word to be used to describe Lind and Jones. They have a positive attitude and forge ahead to care for their families, work at their jobs at New Canaan Town Hall and raise money for the MS Society. Along their side is Lynn.
For the third straight year, the threesome is the driving force behind Cocktails and Crooning for a Cure, which takes from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. April 29 at Waveny House, 677 South Ave. Tickets are $65 per person and can be purchased online at www.cocktailsandcrooning.com.
The event will feature the music of Dean Martin sung by Jack Lynn, who is Lynn's husband, and Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett songs by Angelo Ruggiero. Robby Bridges, host at WEBE 108FM, is the master of ceremonies and auctioneer. Cocktails, hors d'oeuvres catered by Fabulous Feasts, dancing, door prizes and live and silent auction items are the highlights. All proceeds will go to the National MS Society. From the last two events, more than $50,000 was raised.
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Among the silent auction items are a jersey signed by Hall of Fame football player Tony Dorsett, a signed basketball by Carmelo Anthony, a golf outing at The Stanwich Club and a dinner for eight catered by Fabulous Feasts. The live auction items include two tickets to the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis, a vacation in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic and two tickets and accommodations to the 2011 American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Additionally, Dr. Daryl Story of Norwalk, the neurologist who treats both Jones and Lind, will speak at the event.
The trio also is integral to the Moms with MS Walk team that participated in its yearly event earlier this month in Westport.
Lind and Jones have benefited from the money raised over the years for the MS Society for research and drug development. They both are on medication that sustains them and allows them to live as symptom-free as possible.
Jones, who lives in Fairfield and has three children ages 8, 9 and 13, was diagnosed more than 20 years ago. She was medication free until about five years ago and now gives herself a daily injection. Prior to being diagnosed, she felt numbness and tingling in her limbs and attributed it to injuries sustained in a car accident. After the process to determine the cause of her symptoms -- which included a spinal tap -- Jones says it took her three months before she accepted or talked about the diagnosis. She continues to have tingling and numbness and problems with her eyesight, and the change of seasons affect her. "I can live with it and function," she said. "You just kind of learn to live with it. I have three kids so my life is busy."
As for Lind, who lives in Bethel and was diagnosed in 2005, she was working in the Finance Department at New Canaan Town Hall when the left side of her body went numb. The mother of three who are 17, 22 and 26, Lind has subjected herself to all kinds of treatments, even experimental ones, and now she too gives herself a daily injection. She also feels numbness and tingling on a regular basis and is sensitive to the heat, which, she says, "shuts me down instantly once I start to get hot." She wishes she could have a remote control so she could cool her car off before she enters it.
It was Jones who reached out to Lind when she heard about her friend's diagnosis, and revealed to her that she, too, has MS. "So many people get diagnosed with MS," said Lind. "You hear it all the time. You hear it every day."
Jones has worked in the Human Resources Department for 17 years and Lind in Finance for eight years. Lynn came aboard Finance three years ago. "Amy jumped right in and helped us," says Jones. "She is the main person behind the event."
"We all do," Lynn, from Monroe, is quick to add. "I enjoy it. I have a good time."
Three years ago when they decided they would throw a fundraiser, they thought they would have a small cocktail party and Lynn's husband would sing. The first year, 150 people attended; last year, 180. Jack Lynn, said his wife, does the voice, jokes and mannerisms of Dean Martin. "He has a beautiful voice," she said. "I have to say, I am very proud of him. He enjoys it a lot." The crooner, in fact, is one of the silent auction items as he will entertain guests at a private party or other event.
They never thought the fundraiser would get as big as it has. "And then the larger auction items started coming in," said Jones. "What's nice about this event, too, is that it is in New Canaan but we do see people coming from all over Fairfield County, which is terrific."
The response from their families, friends and others has been welcomed and appreciated.
"There are so many people who help with this event, so many who donate their time," said Lind. "Even the kids, they step up and do the right thing ... everybody participates. I think that's what makes it a really good event because you get the feeling of hometown, family togetherness."
When discussing maintaining their positive attitude about living with MS, Lind says it simply.
"You have to. Some people don't. It's like mind over matter sometimes. I can sit here and say I don't want to get out of bed today because, you know what, I am tired of walking when I don't feel. I'm tired of my hand tingling. I am just tired of it, but where is that going to get me?"
"And I think we have the support of each other, the support of Amy and other people here too," Jones said.
"Wherever we go, we have a support system," Lind said.
"That makes a big difference when you are having a bad day or something's not right so you can bounce it off each other," Jones said.
Lind and Lynn agree.
"That's the one thing I noticed -- the attitude. Honestly, it was amazing to me," Lynn said.
"I talk about it when I need to. But I don't want to use it for any other reason but to help somebody," Jones said.
Lind is a little different.
"Apparently, I am the opposite because I just tell everybody," she said.
Jones says she has encountered more and more people, especially mothers, who have MS but do not tell anyone, even their kids. "You can use it as a positive ... there is so much information out there that it doesn't have to be a negative."
"It's part of who you are," said Lind. "It's not who I am, it doesn't define me. It's just another part of me and that's the difference."
No one sums up the attitude and the cause better than Jones' son, Chris, 13, who spoke at last year's fundraising party.
"I pray every day and night that someday we will find a cure for MS and see my mom MS-free. That would be the gift of a lifetime for her, although she is awesome to be around and always happy anyway," he said.
"The thing that amazes me most about my mom is that no matter what she is going through, she always has a great attitude, like it is `no big deal.' She is brave, strong and positive around my siblings and me, which makes her one of the best role models in the world."