By Gina Ross Murdoch
Recently, my son Steve approached me with an idea. “Mom, how about we create a mother and son team supporting MSAA for the Disney Marathon Weekend?” Having participated before with TeamMSAA in the Disney events and getting the opportunity to do this with my son, I was all in with his great suggestion. It also made me think about how thankful I am to have his support as a team member in our collective efforts to raise funds and awareness for the MS community.
Steve and I are part of over 100 members of TeamMSAA working together to reach our goals. That is an impressive effort! This fact reminded me how important it is for those living with MS to create and have their own teams to help manage the complexity of life with multiple sclerosis. Team members can be care partners, friends, family, healthcare providers, and community members. MSAA can be part of the team, too, by providing resources, programs, and services all along the MS journey.
As part of our preparations, we are training by walking and running. Steve, who is only 28, is more of a runner, and mom – 50+, is more of a walker – but we are supporting each other’s journey. Many of the other teams are doing the same – finding their own way to participate. This is also an important part of being on a team. Everyone does what they can in their own way at their own pace. It is so inspiring to speak to our TeamMSAA participants to hear their stories of why they are participating, what is driving them, and the creative ways they are raising funds for MSAA’s programs and services.
This past weekend, Steve, my brother, and I participated in a Turkey Trot 5K at the boardwalk along the ocean as part of our training. The sun was out, the air was crisp, and it was a lovely day as we lined up for the event. People participated by walking, running, or jogging. Some participants pushed baby carriages, and I saw two attendees participating in scooters. However you wanted to participate, we were there supporting each other. There were many volunteers, workers, supporters, and family all along the route, cheering us along and ensuring we were safe. An event like that takes a wide range of efforts and expertise to ensure the event goes well and to prepare in case of an issue with a participant.
Seeing this event and being aware that my fellow TeamMSAA participants were probably doing the same physical training gave me great comfort and thankfulness. Knowing that my fellow TeamMSAA participants were also actively raising funds and awareness to support MSAA’s free programs and services made me proud. As we approach life, and especially those who face a life impacted by MS, it is the team around us that helps us along our path. Connection and teamwork are critical aspects for us all. For Steve and me, we are team members dedicated to raising funds for those impacted by MS. For MSAA, we are here to be partners and team members to the entire MS community along their journey.
Steve and I want to thank our family and friends for supporting our TeamMSAA efforts. I also want to thank all of you, the MS community, for supporting each other and for being on our collective team working to Improve Lives Today. In this season of connection and thankfulness, I am thankful for the team at MSAA, all our partners, the inspiring (and sometimes heartbreaking) stories from the MS community, and all who are on Team MSAA and Team Improving Lives Today. You make a difference.
*Gina Ross Murdoch is a seasoned executive in non-profit management and has served as MSAA’s President and CEO since 2016. Her career includes leadership positions with chapters of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as well as the American Diabetes Association. Earlier, she spent 14 years overseeing development activities at a large chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, leading explosive growth initiatives and ground-breaking strategic projects. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts on how MSAA is improving lives today, or to learn how to get involved in our mission.