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MassMutual Sponsors Exceptional Parent's Disability Awareness Night; Honors Contributions Made By, and On Behalf Of, 54 Million Americans With Disabilities.

BALTIMORE, Md., Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), in conjunction with Exceptional Parent Magazine and the Baltimore Orioles, will sponsor Disability Awareness Night tonight when the Orioles meet the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards. MassMutual General Agents Jerry Hulick, Robert Norman and Alexandria West will donate a total of 300 tickets and T-shirts to people with disabilities and servicemen injured in the Iraq war. Exceptional Parent Magazine will donate an additional 250 game tickets to several local disability organizations.

The night will pay tribute to the contributions of 54 million Americans with disabilities, their families and caregivers. At a pre-game ceremony at home plate, EP's President and CEO Joe Valenzano will present the EP Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award to Sharon Ruben, a young mother who has written a book, Awakening Ashley, about her family's experience of helping awaken her daughter, diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. With treatment provided by the Spectrum Center in Bethesda, Ashley has awakened to the world around her. Today, the little girl who once didn't speak, look at her family or play with children her age, is a lively, talkative, loving child who interacts and communicates in age-appropriate ways.

Also honored tonight will be two locally based programs -- the League of Dreams and the Run, Jump & Throw Program, supported by the U.S. Navy. The League of Dreams is a nonprofit organization that provides individuals, regardless of their physical or mental capacities, with the opportunity to experience the joy, challenges and personal growth associated with playing baseball. The Run, Jump & Throw Program provides individual assessment for students in grades 1-12 and encourages participation in fitness programs -- including special adaptive physical education programs for people with disabilities. Presenting the EP Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award to League of Dreams President and Founder Frank Kolark will be Mr. Joe Valenzano, president and CEO of Exceptional Parent. Accepting the award on behalf of Jim Santos, Run, Jump & Throw president and former Special Olympics track and field coach, is Rear Admiral Kathleen Martin, assistant surgeon general of the Navy.

The awards given to Ms. Ruben, Mr. Kolark and Mr. Santos are named after the founder and former editor-in-chief of Exceptional Parent who was an advocate for people with special needs and who passed away in 2000. Exceptional Parent is this nation's oldest and most widely read and referred to publication of its kind reaching a vast audience of physicians, nurses, therapists, teachers and families involved in the care and development of children and adults with disabilities and special health care needs.

"MassMutual has long supported families' efforts to provide for the long- term needs of people with disabilities," said MassMutual's Mr. Hulick. "Through its innovative SpecialCare(SM) program, MassMutual helps parents and caregivers effectively integrate financial analysis into a thorough, customized life plan for individuals with special needs. We're proud to be able to offer such a program in the Greater Baltimore/Washington region."

"Disability Awareness Night honors the unsung heroes of our community who persevere despite unbelievable odds," said MassMutual's Ms. West. "MassMutual is committed to helping people with disabilities afford to live dignified and fulfilling lives," added MassMutual's Mr. Norman.

Disability Awareness Night began in the summer of 2002 when Exceptional Parent Magazine combined forces with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox to create the first sponsorship of its kind. In 2003, 14 teams participated in Disability Awareness Night; in the 2004 season 27 of 30 teams have elected to participate.

MassMutual Financial Group -- comprised of member companies with more than $285 billion in assets under management as of year-end 2003 -- is a global, growth-oriented, diversified financial services organization providing life insurance, annuities, disability income insurance, long-term care insurance, retirement planning products, structured settlement annuities, trust services, money management, and other financial products and services. The MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing designation (or fleet name) for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliates, which include OppenheimerFunds, Inc., David L. Babson & Company Inc., Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers, Inc.; MML Investors Services, Inc.; The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB; Antares Capital Corporation; and MML Bay State Life Insurance Company; C.M. Life Insurance Company, and MassMutual International, Inc. MassMutual International has operations in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Bermuda, Chile, Luxembourg, Macao and a representative office in Shanghai. MassMutual is on the Internet

Based in River Edge, NJ, 33-year-old EP Communications is an integrated communications company providing information for families and professionals involved in the care and development of people with disabilities and special healthcare needs. EP uses a multi-media approach to disseminate information via: its publication, Exceptional Parent; Web site (; custom communications projects; the EP Library of disability books; live and on-line seminars and community outreach programs such as the national Disability Awareness Night (DAN) campaign developed through the EP Foundation for Education, a 501(C)3 company. Exceptional Parent Magazine has received many prestigious awards, including the 2000, 2001 and 2003 FOLIO: Gold Medal Awards for editorial excellence; and the New Freedom Award for Best Magazine & Web site in 2003 from the New Freedom Foundation. EP Communications is not an affiliate or subsidiary of MassMutual and its affiliates.

Contact: Mark Di Giorgio


CONTACT: Mark Di Giorgio of MassMutual, +1-413-744-7722

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 20, 2004
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