Meet the Players

2024 Co-Chairs
Elissa (EJ) Levy
is the Founder and President of MS Hope for a Cure. Since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2002, EJ has dedicated her time and energy to help find a cure for MS. She became an avid poker player as her symptoms worsened and she could no longer ski or run (but still needed an adrenaline rush). Due to research that produced a new MS medication that became available in 2010, EJ can now not only ski and run again, but is well enough to be a single mom to Matilda, who will turn 11 this May. She is thrilled that the past sixteen charity tournaments have raised nearly $12 million to help support crucial research and people living with MS. EJ, Matilda and their puppy Misty, live in South Burlington, VT but visit NYC often.
Eden Lopez-Robles
joined the fight against MS when her mom Lois was diagnosed with the disease. She was the captain of the Loving Lois Walk Team which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the National MS Society and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2006. She is a founding board member of MS Hope for a Cure and has served as its Chair since 2015. For over 30 years Eden worked tirelessly to find a cure for her mom, and to support her father Harold who was the ultimate caregiver. Although both her parents passed away this past year, she continues to fight and to ensure MS Hope raises as much money as possible so that each and every fundraising dollar makes the biggest impact. Eden is a Managing Director at RBC Wealth Management and lives in Manhattan with her husband, Anthony and their three children, Briana, Maxwell and Dylan.
2024 Benefit Committee
Judd Levy
is the very proud father of EJ. He is the former Chairman of the NY State Housing Finance Agency and the State of NY Mortgage Agency and currently serves as Vice Chairman of Westbeth Artists Housing in the west village. Judd is the founder and former President of CDT, the country’s only affordable housing REIT. He is an accomplished no-limit cash and tournament player. In 2017 he played in the WSOP Seniors Tournament with 5,388 players and finished 55th (top 1.1%) and won $9,239! In June 2022 he cashed in the Super Seniors WSOP tournament, two months shy of his 80th birthday! He is currently ranked 56,872nd on the United States All Time Money List.
Catherine "Cat" McKenzie
is an Executive Producer at ABC NEWS responsible for GMA3: What You Need to Know and specials on ABC News Live and is proud to be a founding member of the MS Hope for a Cure Board of Directors. She met EJ while the two were cheering on their respective football teams at their favorite sports bar. She’s “all-in” to finding a cure for MS, which she believes, will happen in their lifetime.
Owen Parker
is a Managing Director at Blackstone. Owen was first introduced to the event in 2018 and has participated ever since in honor of his grandmother who passed away due to complications with MS in 2017. Owen, and his wife Shannon, are excited to be joining the benefit committee and raise money through this amazing event for such a worthy cause.
Stacy and Jonathan Pollack
feel so lucky to be involved with MS Hope for a Cure. Stacy sits on the MS Hope for a Cure Board of Directors and also serves as the Board President of the Jewish Community Project Downtown. Her father suffers from the primary progressive form of MS. Jonathan is the Global Head of Real Estate Credit at Blackstone. They live with their two boys and two dogs in Manhattan. The Pollack family knows that a cure for MS will be found with money raised from events like this!
Ken Rivlin
is a long-time partner at Allen & Overy. He founded the Firm’s U.S. Environmental Law Group, heads the Firm’s International Environmental Law Group, founded the Firm’s sanctions practice, and co-heads the Firm’s International Trade and Regulatory Law Group. He is also an Independent Partner Director serving on the Firm’s board. He and his team advise corporates, financial institutions, funds, governments, and NGOs on a wide range of regulatory and risk issues in transactions, stand-alone compliance matters, and disputes, including: sustainability & ESG, climate risk, emissions trading & decarbonization, corporate reporting & disclosure, governance and risk management, the Equator Principles and similar voluntary standards, supply chain sustainability, toxic tort risk, and human rights. Ken and his team also advise on U.S. and international economic sanctions, foreign direct investment rules (CFIUS), anti-corruption and anti-bribery compliance, and similar matters. Ken writes and speaks frequently on environmental and regulatory matters, and is a Lecturer-in-Law at Columbia University School of Law. He is a member (and former Chair) of the Advisory Council for the Institute at Brown (University) for Environment and Society, Member (and former President) of the Board of Trustees for the Human Needs Food Pantry, Former Chair of the New York City Bar Committee on International Environmental Law, Advisory Trustee for Pure Earth, a member of the Leadership Council for the Environmental Law Institute, and has served on numerous additional boards. He also is a core member of the International Environmental Lawyers Network, and a member of the Environmental Law Advisory Committee at Columbia Law School.
Anthony Robles
is the lucky guy married to co-chair Eden Lopez-Robles. Their love of poker is one of the things that brought them together and Anthony actually asked Eden to marry him at the poker table. He planned an elaborate proposal at a poker room in Atlantic City and when the dealer turned over the flop, turn and river, it was a Straight Flush (hearts) with the words Eden - Will - You - Marry – Me printed on the cards. When Anthony is not sweeping Eden off her feet he is helping clients find their dream homes as one of the founding partners of the Scott-Robles Team at Douglas Elliman. They are ranked among the top 250 real estate teams in the country. Anthony and Eden live in Manhattan with their three children, Briana, Maxwell and Dylan.
David S. Schafran
joined the fight against MS in 2001 after his wife Karen was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS. Realizing he didn’t have the aptitude for medical school, David turned to raising money and awareness, forming the MS Walk team “Got Wine?”, which won the award for best new team that year, marking the first and last time he ever beat EJ in anything fundraising related. David is a proud founding member of MS Hope for a Cure’s Board of Directors and is dedicated to the work the organization has accomplished. He is eager for the research that we fund to put us out of business, as quickly as possible. Professionally, David is the Strategic Coaching Director at Pax8, helping IT Service Providers grow and build value in their companies. He and Karen live in Stamford, CT with their two cats, who are home schooled.
May Siu
met EJ playing poker in NYC home games over 10 years ago. She was immediately inspired by EJ’s story of perseverance, hope, love for life and her ability to turn her MS struggles into a positive powerful movement. May is a two time WSOP Women finalist. She quit finance several years ago looking for something that would fulfill both her nerdy and artistic nature. When the pandemic hit, she sprung into action, dedicating her work to her community and founded Murals for Good, a nonprofit art organization made up of dedicated New Yorkers who believe the power of art can heal their fractured city. Today, they have created a platform for social and environmental justice activism. They are a winner of the NYS DRI grant and are currently planning the world’s first-ever social and environmentally sustainable Murals for Good festival in NYC Chinatown. Imagine murals that purify the air we breath in NYC by absorbing CO2! To learn more visit or talk to May ( in person on April 4th.
Michael Stepniewski
first attended the tournament as a guest in 2016, and after eight years, has finally learned how to resist the urge to laugh when he’s bluffing at the poker table. As a member of the benefit committee, he has focused his efforts on bringing a new wave of donors and contributors to the tournament each year. Mike is a born and bred New Yorker and lives in Manhattan’s West Village. When he’s not facing elimination from poker tournaments at lightning speed, he works in the NYC capital markets group at Walker & Dunlop.
Peter Vermette
met EJ through his work as a Board Member of the NYC Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society which he joined in hopes of helping to find a cure for his dad, Greg, and everyone else living with the disease. He attended the tournament for the first time in 2013 and has since joined the committee and made this an annual event with his friends and colleagues. Peter lives with his wife and their three children in Westchester.
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