Thoughts about Giving: Without Donations, MSAA Doesn’t Exist

by Erich Fasnacht, Vice President of Development
Fundraising profiles by Kaitlyn Gallagher

Imagine everything that MSAA is able to provide to people living with MS in a single day – a cooling vest for a mother in Ohio; a free MRI for a young man in Florida; a wheelchair for a woman in New Jersey; an educational program for 30 families in Chicago. MSAA helps people like this every day, not to mention our additional services such as our My MS Manager app, our online community, webinars, and publications. But absolutely NONE of this would be possible without donations.

MSAA doesn’t receive government funding. There is no multi-million dollar endowment. Each year, we rely on donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations to fund each one of our programs. An additional $250 donation means that we are that much closer to providing a free MRI to someone in need. A $10 online donation by 12 different people means that we can provide a transfer bench to someone with mobility issues. A $1,000 gift to MSAA can be a real, honest-to-goodness life-changer for someone who is struggling with multiple sclerosis.

Is it important to you that MSAA is able to continue providing these services to people living with MS?

We know that it is, because there’s something else that happens every single day – we receive donations: an online gift from a woman in Washington whose daughter has MS; a participant in our Ride to Montauk in New York gets a donation from a friend; a check in the mail from a father in Texas is received at our office. These generous and miraculous gifts make it possible to provide our free and urgently needed programs and services to the MS community.

If you would like to be part of this group of donors who support our work, or know someone who would, please reach out to MSAA at (800) 532-7667 or go to Thank you!

Photo of Stafford Swim for MS team member Jun Lee Stafford Swim for MS team member Jun Lee smiles for the camera during their one-day swim fundraising event.

Studious Swimmers

In July 2018, a group of National Honor Society students from Stafford, Texas embarked on their fourth Swim for MS challenge. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of this group of students, the Stafford team had their most successful year yet! The group collected two dollars for each lap they completed, and one dollar for each cannonball jump during their one-day swim event at the local pool. The Stafford NHS Twitter account also tweeted frequently in support of the team to encourage donations. As a result, the team collected more than $800 for MSAA’s free programs and services!

Photo of Kari Albrecht Earll and her husband Mike Kari Albrecht Earll and her husband Mike celebrate the completion of a recent half marathon. Kari and Mike will be racing in the Marine Corps Marathon with Team MSAA in October 2018.

Journey to the Marine Corps Marathon

On October 28, 2018, Kari Albrecht Earll and her husband, Mike, will be racing alongside members of Team MSAA in support of the MS community for the 43rd Annual Marine Corps Marathon. Kari was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013 – however, this did not stop her from completing her first full marathon the following year. At a recent follow-up appointment with her neurologist, Kari mentioned her goal of completing a half marathon in every state. Her neurologist suggested that she join Team MSAA for the Marine Corps Marathon to help her get one step closer to her goal while supporting a cause she cares about. Now, Kari and her husband are training hard in preparation for the race!

“When I was diagnosed, I had no idea what MS really was,” said Kari. “I thought people with MS were all in wheelchairs and not able to walk. Here I am still running … MS does not define who I am, it is just something that I manage … I have days that are not as great, but with the support of my husband and my daughters I keep pushing on.” To date, Kari and Mike have raised more than $1,500 for MSAA’s free programs and services! We wish Kari and Mike the best of luck on their journey to the Marine Corps Marathon!

Photo of Annual Nana's Cookies Bake Sale members (From left to right) Linda Somers, Lynne Goldberg, and Alyssa Lewanowicz at the 12th Annual Nana’s Cookies Bake Sale

Nana’s Cookies Bake Sales

For 12 years, Nana’s Cookies Bake Sale has supported MSAA’s mission to improve lives, thanks to the dedication of Alyssa Lewanowicz and her family! At age nine, Alyssa lost her great-grandmother due to complications from multiple sclerosis. With the help of her mother, Lynne Goldberg, and her grandmother, Linda Somers, Alyssa and her family found a way to give back to the MS community with an annual bake sale in memory of her “Nana.” In the summer of 2018, Alyssa and her family raised more than $3,000 dollars at their delicious bake sale!