By Gina Ross Murdoch
MSAA President and CEO
As we approach spring, our fiscal year to date has been defined by a number of exciting advancements, new initiatives, and expansion of our MSAA family. The driving force behind all of this progress is the collective efforts of clients, staff, volunteers, corporate partners, and care partners dedicated to Improving Lives Today and Every Day.
Just within this fiscal year, we have welcomed four new board members to our MSAA leadership. This brings the total of new board members we have welcomed since January 2016 to seven. These incredibly dedicated professionals are from all over the country and walks of life. Their expertise includes finance, retail, technology, higher education, medicine (neurology), insurance, law, and healthcare administration. The commonality between them is both their dedication to MSAA and their desire to leverage their connections, all with the ultimate goal of increasing our impact on so many lives affected by multiple sclerosis.
In this issue, you will see a new focus on the many ways volunteers are making a difference in their local communities. Going forward, you will see examples of what is taking place in cities and towns across the country – all dedicated to Improving Lives Today. From cookie sales to 5K races, golf tournaments to Swim for MS events, our MSAA family members are rallying their local communities to raise awareness about MSAA and how we are here to help. Collectively, your fellow MSAA volunteers have raised more than $150,000 in their local communities!!! That is an incredible amount. Also incredible is the impact these events have had to let everyone affected by multiple sclerosis know MSAA is here to help.
Building on that community spirit, we are launching Team MSAA. This new fundraising initiative offers people across the country the opportunity to participate in 5K or 10K races, half marathons, and full marathons in support of MSAA. I personally will be participating in a half marathon, so stay tuned to our social media outreach to see my journey along the way. I am so incredibly proud to run for MSAA! I encourage you to check out our Team MSAA page at support.mymsaa.org/teammsaa to see how you can participate as a runner, walker, or spectator to lend cheering support to participants at a local race.
Finally, MSAA continues to move forward with two initiatives we recently announced – My MSAA Community and Antidote Match. Launched in May 2016, My MSAA Community offers anyone affected by multiple sclerosis the opportunity to share ideas, make connections, learn from peers, and know that others are facing the same challenges of living with MS. This support network has grown to more than 1,600 members in only 10 months!
In January, MSAA announced a partnership with Antidote Technologies, allowing us to offer Antidote Match, a clinical trial search tool on our website. This platform provides a customizable way to search for clinical trials anywhere in the country. By answering a succession of questions, Antidote Match creates a list of clinical trials that may be suited to your particular situation. As clinical trials are necessary for advances in research with any disease and the treatment of its symptoms, you can play an important role in bringing the next breakthrough to the MS community.
Overall, the first part of the year has been very busy! With your fellow MSAA members across the country, we are helping more people every day. I invite you to add your personal efforts to our mission and continue to help us Improve Lives Today!
Gina Ross Murdoch is a seasoned executive in non-profit management. 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. An active member of the community, Ms. Murdoch has held several town positions and volunteers for her college alma mater, Drew University.