March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month and MSAA is excited to present four full weeks of valuable and inspiring resources, programs, and strategies for all ages! We are dedicated to spreading awareness, education, and support to individuals, families, and care partners in the MS community, and this month is no different. Our MS Awareness Month initiatives focus on “Life with MS: Different Stages of the Journey” and include a multitude of programs that address MS management in all life stages.
As summer is winding down, we reflect on the fun we had with family and friends relaxing and trying to stay cool – backyard barbeques, trips to the beach, ice cream cones, and time spent poolside. But for individuals living with MS, staying cool during the summer can be a challenge. That is why the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America provides free cooling vests and accessories to qualified individuals with MS, throughout the summer and all year long.
As you can imagine, symptom-management products such as cooling vests come at a significant cost. MSAA relies on a community of supporters stepping up to make a difference. Our DIY fundraising platform makes it easy for anyone to set up an MSAA donation page for their fundraising event or campaign.
In fact, setting up his fundraising page was the easiest thing Richard Core did all summer, who raised $6,000 for MSAA with his Richard’s Ride Across America.Continue reading
This month, we asked our guest bloggers to share about the artists or artwork they feel speak to their own personal experiences. MSAA has long celebrated artists in the MS community through our Art Showcase initiative. This year, MSAA is recognizing ten years of beautiful artwork shared with us from members of the MS community!
Started in 2009, the MSAA Art Showcases are comprised of two categories: the MS Ability Art Showcase and the Four Seasons Art Showcase. Artists with a diagnosis of MS are invited each Fall to submit their best oil, watercolor, acrylic or Continue reading
MSAA is excited to announce that, in partnership with HealthUnlocked, we have launched a new peer-to-peer online community called My MSAA Community! This free online forum is a safe place for anyone who has been affected by MS, whether they have been diagnosed or are a care partner, to share their stories and find information and support.
Sometimes when you are going through something personal and you try to share your feelings or your experience with someone who hasn’t been through the same thing, you can find yourself hitting an emotional wall. The person you share your feelings with may be able to empathize and understand what you are sharing to a certain extent, but they may not fully appreciate what you are going through, since they haven’t experienced it themselves. In these situations you can feel like you need to talk to someone who “gets it” and has been through what you are going through.
My MSAA Community is designed as an online community and forum for people whose lives have been affected by multiple sclerosis to find each other and share their experiences as a way of providing support and information. This community allows members to post questions and get answers from others on the forum and contribute to other ongoing conversations.
Follow or join the community at: https://healthunlocked.com/mymsaa
Every year, the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) and the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) hold meetings to present on topics of interest to the multiple sclerosis community. This year, the annual AAN meeting was held in Vancouver, Canada in April and the CMSC meeting took place in Maryland at the beginning of June.
After each meeting, MSAA condenses all of the information presented at these meetings, which is meant for medical professionals, to easy-to-read articles to keep you informed about what is new in the world of multiple sclerosis.
Both meetings this year covered a range of topics, but here are a few items highlighted in MSAA’s annual review of these meetings:
- Updates on a sampling of approved and experimental treatments
- Trial results for new symptom-management treatments and programs
- Interesting studies on pediatric MS, risk of MS, and children of parents with MS
- Various other topics, such as gut immunity, the effects of poor sleep, and gaps in public awareness about MS
Read the full article on MSAA’s Latest News section to see more topics presented at this year’s meetings!
MSAA has posted a new online article providing highlights from this year’s Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers’ Annual Meeting held in Indianapolis, Indiana in May. MS experts from around the country attended this exciting conference where the latest findings in MS research, treatments, symptom management, and patient care were presented.
Topics highlighted in this article include updates on MS disease-modifying therapies and findings from several cognitive and psychosocial studies. Various lifestyle factors such as diet, nutrition, and exercise are addressed in detail as well. The article also provides information on other topics of interest, such as diversity in multiple sclerosis, caregiver stress, gut microbiome, and more.
If you missed MSAA’s article summarizing data presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 2015 Annual Meeting in April, please check it out here.
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is moving to a new location!
As of Wednesday, June 24, 2015, the address for MSAA’s National Headquarters will be:
375 Kings Highway North
Cherry Hill, New Jersey 08034
Please note that MSAA’s phone number, email address, website URL, fax numbers, and regional office contact information (other than the Northeast Regional office) will all remain the same.
Please update your records with our new address and continue to stay in touch with us!
On April 22nd, MSAA held the second annual Improving Lives Benefit at The Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC. It was a wonderful evening filled with good food and fun – all in support of a great cause! The funds raised from the event directly support MSAA’s free, vital programs and services.
This year, two special people were honored as MSAA champions for their accomplishments, commitment, and support of the MS community.
Dr. Randall Schapiro, MS neurologist and member of MSAA’s Healthcare Advisory Council, was honored for his dedication and contributions to the MS community. Among his many notable accomplishments, Dr. Schapiro founded the first comprehensive MS center in 1977, participated in numerous research studies, and helped to develop two MS organizations. Through his years of service, he has come to recognize the importance and impact a “team approach” can have in helping the MS community.
“That’s the way we’re going to make progress. That’s the way we have success in dealing with a difficult disease. So I’m appreciative, very appreciative, of accepting this award on behalf of my team; all of the team; all of the people that have been involved with me and helped me.”
–Dr. Randall Schapiro
Also honored was Emmy award-winning network producer and writer, Kristen Adams. Diagnosed with MS in 2008, Kristen serves as an inspiration to all who hear her story. In early 2014, Kristen played a major role in helping to launch MSAA’s Why I Swim initiative by producing and starring in nationally broadcast videos to inspire others to share their stories.
“I can be a good example. And I know now why that is important and why I continue to do that. And I am deeply grateful to MSAA for allowing me the opportunity to do that. Thank you.”
This year’s Improving Lives Benefit would not have been a success without the support and generosity of our donors. With the help of our supporters, MSAA was able to raise more than $115,000 – which will make a tremendous difference in helping to provide vital programs for so many people affected by MS.
There is still time to share holiday greetings and raise awareness about MSAA! Please visit support.mymsaa.org/holidaycards to send a holiday or New Year’s eCard to everyone on your list!
PLEASE NOTE: MSAA’s offices will be closed Wednesday, December 24th, through Sunday, December 28th.
by Kimberly Goodrich, CFRE, Senior Director of Development
In our continued quest to show our donors the impact of their support, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) has been working with the various charity watchdogs to ensure that we are doing our best to communicate that we are worthy of your donations, and that we are working to meet our mission. The most prominent charity watchdogs (GuideStar and Charity Navigator) are working to update and enhance their rating systems to focus less on ratios and more on the impact an organization is having on those who need its services.
America’s Charities is also recognizing those charities that meet the top standards of the different watchdog agencies through their High Performing Charities Initiative. This new program recognizes those nonprofits that have reached the highest levels of accountability, transparency and impact as set by the leading charity rating agencies.
MSAA is proud to announce that we have been recognized as a High Performing Charity by America’s Charities. To earn this distinction we have reached the highest levels as determined by each of the charity rating agencies.
1. We are a member of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance having met all 20 Standards for Charity Accountability in the areas of governance and oversight, measuring effectiveness, finances, fundraising, and informational materials.
2. We have achieved Gold level status with GuideStar for our commitment to transparency. This site also includes our current impact goals and progress toward those goals.
3. Charity Navigator has awarded MSAA with a three star rating based on their assessment of how efficiently we use resources to fulfill our mission, how well we have sustained our programs and services over time and our level of commitment to being accountable and transparent.
Last year your support led directly to helping more people improve their lives. Our toll-free Helpline assisted 6% more people compared to the previous year. We provided ongoing MRI assistance to 9% more people, and diagnostic MRI assistance to 70% more people than the year before. Thank you for being a part of the conversation over the last year and helping us to refine how we communicate our impact. And thank you for trusting MSAA to turn your support into services that directly improve the lives of those living with MS.
Support from our donors is always appreciated! If you would like to donate to MSAA, you may do so here.
I am the Senior Director of Development at MSAA and have worked in the nonprofit arena for over 15 years. I love reading, running, theatre and the Green Bay Packers. I volunteer with the Disabled American Veterans teaching outdoor sports like skiing and kayaking to injured veterans and find that I receive much more from them than I am able to give.