Thankfulness and Kindness

By Gina Ross Murdoch

In years past, we would enter November with thoughts about upcoming family gatherings, parties, crowded shopping malls, and many other group activities. This year, we continue to view these activities with uncertainty and cautiousness for our safety. We are somewhat there in many areas but still not fully “back to normal.” The holiday season looks different but this time of togetherness, family, and helping others is as strong as ever.

So, what does the “season of giving” and thankfulness look like in our world today? It looks like gifts of kindness, large and small, as it has always been. It looks like neighbors helping neighbors and, hopefully, being kind to yourself as well. In our quickly changing and virtual world, the power of personal connections and family are more important now than ever.

A small act of kindness such as taking someone to a holiday lunch may now change to dropping off a special goody to someone who cannot go to that favorite restaurant. Kindness may be in the form of using your newfound crafty talent to make a personal gift and sending a surprise through the mail. It may also translate to giving yourself the small kindness of patience and understanding as we continue to navigate the current climate. Whatever your kindness may be, sharing of yourself and your talents will inevitably result in a thankful recipient. We all can make a difference, and all have the ability to make someone’s today just a little bit brighter. Even if we are still living in a somewhat socially distant world, connection to others remains essential.

Expressions of kindness continue to be seen through supportive groups that are important to you, such as the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America and the entire MS community. What may be a small act of kindness in your eyes can be a life-changing event in someone else’s existence. We often receive heartwarming notes of appreciation from those who have received a cooling vest or walker, explaining that these free services from MSAA have vastly impacted their lives. A walker may be the one thing needed to help a parent escort their daughter down the aisle, or a cooling vest could make the difference in allowing a grandparent to see their grandchild play baseball. These are just a few examples of how the power of generosity can improve a single life.

Throughout these challenging times, MSAA is thankful that we have maintained our Cooling, Equipment, and MRI programs as well as provided a wide variety of educational programs about COVID-19 and MS, the importance of mental and emotional wellness, and have continued to raise awareness about how MS impacts communities of color. Each day, MSAA receives many requests for support and information. Addressing those needs and being there for everyone impacted by MS is why we exist. MSAA appreciates the incredible support we have received in the past and we continue to rely on that support to be there for the MS community in the future.

Your acts of kindness create a significant impact. We rely on each other for support and compassion, as well as guidance, laughter, hope, and help. MSAA is thankful for the many people who continue to provide for our mission – you are critically important to Improving Lives Today. Wishing you a wonderful holiday!

Give Thanks

Image of lantern surrounded by gourds.

*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 to share your thoughts on how MSAA is improving lives today, or to learn how to get involved in our mission.

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About MSAA

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including, The Motivator; MSAA’s nationally recognized website, featuring educational videos, webinars, and research updates; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; safety and mobility equipment products; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; MS Conversations blog; a clinical trial search tool; podcasts; and more. For additional information, please visit or call (800) 532-7667.

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