It has been an honor for us at the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, Michigan Chapter to host the annual da Vinci Awards® event since 2001 and recognize the most innovative developments and research in all fields of assistive and adaptive technology.
For 13 years the da Vinci Awards® celebrated 107 award winners and increased awareness of the life-improving benefits of innovative designs, products and services that help people overcome physical limitations.
Michael J. Rokosz was a research scientist at Ford Motor Company and a member of the National MS Society, Michigan Chapter Board of Trustees when he brought the chief officers of the MS Society and the Engineering Society of Detroit together to discuss an idea he had to create a venue to highlight engineering achievements that improved accessibility for people with disabilities. His vision evolved into the da Vinci Awards®, which was held for the first time in 2001 to benefit the Michigan Chapter of the National MS Society. Rokosz passed away in 2010 and the event carried on in his memory.
A tremendous amount of human and financial resources are required to successfully stage the da Vinci Awards® each year. In recent years, despite our very best efforts and the generous support of volunteers and corporate sponsors, it has been a challenge for the event to reach important benchmarks. As much as we value the importance of assistive technology, it has become clear that the “da Vinci Awards” format is no longer a viable platform for us to embrace and still achieve our goals as an organization.
Therefore, after much reflection and discussion, the leadership of the National MS Society, Michigan Chapter has decided to discontinue the da Vinci Awards® event.
We are transitioning to a new type of gala fundraising event in 2015 that will engage a more diverse audience and align more closely with the Society’s mission to help people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) while raising critical funds to support research that will stop MS in its tracks, restore function that has been lost and end MS forever.
In this time of transition, we are also seeking out interested parties who could possibly carry on the da Vinci Awards® legacy.
We are grateful to our corporate partners and volunteers who have pledged their continued support in 2015, and we will be sharing more details about our new gala event soon. For updates, contact Patti Radzik at 248-936-0342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We thank the hundreds of inventors, innovators, and researchers from around the world who have submitted nominations and participated in the da Vinci Awards® for more than a decade. We salute all of the award winners and finalists and applaud each of you for your commitment to a barrier-free world. We will continue to cheer you on in your work as we press forward toward our goal of a world free of MS.