Oct 18, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Susan Ashline
October 16, 2012 OFFICE: 585-271-0805 x 70344
National MS Society Honors “Top 10” Buffalo-area MS Activists
Buffalo, NY - The National Multiple Sclerosis Society Upstate New York Chapter is honoring eight individuals and two groups for their hard work and determination to create a world free of MS, at the Champions On the Move Luncheon on Friday, October 19. This unique awards ceremony and networking luncheon will showcase MS activists in the Buffalo-Niagara region. Some of the award winners have raised tens of thousands of dollars for MS research and programs and services, while others are being recognized for selflessly giving their time.
The 10 honorees are recognized in five categories:
- Young Persons On the Move – Jason Santiago, RPA-C, and Christina Bosilkovski
- The Stephen H. Kelly Award: Professionals On the Move (Sponsored by Hodgson Russ, LLP) — James F. Kalec (Mayer Bros.) and Robyn Zimmer (Reeds Jewelers/Jenss Décor)
- Volunteers On the Move – Mary Gabalski and Nicole Burroughs
- Anne L Scheull Inspiration Award: Inspirational Persons On the Move — Charles Joyce and Maria Torres
- Groups On the Move – Queen City Roller Girls and National Fuel Gas Company
Among the winners, Jason Santiago, RPA-C, is a member of the National MS Society’s Clinical Advisory Committee and a speaker at various support groups. His mother was diagnosed with MS more than 20 years ago. “Now, the whole landscape of MS is changing, and there are a number of very effective treatments already available and still more on the immediate horizon” Santiago said. “The treatments are getting very exciting, and I’m looking forward to seeing them at work.”
Christina Bosilkovski’s mother was diagnosed with MS about 15 years ago. Bosilkovski has been a part of mobilizing resources for this past year’s Walk MS, provided support for Golf Fore MS, and headed up a team from Homewatch CareGivers home care agency to participate in MS Service Day.
James F. Kalec , General Sales Manager at Mayer Bros. Apple Products, Inc., has been involved with the Upstate New York Chapter’s major fundraiser, Walk MS, for nearly a decade, and just last June, he chaired the task force that put together the Golf Fore MS tournament at Fox Valley Country Club, raising more than $27,000 for the chapter.
Robyn Zimmer (Reeds Jewelers/Jenss Décor) designed a jewelry line called Embrace the Difference© which supports many charities, including the National MS Society. Embrace the Difference© was created to spread a message of support, acceptance and kindness. Customers can purchase a piece of jewelry from the collection, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to an approved organization, one of which is the Upstate New York Chapter.
Mary Gabalski, of Frewsburg, has served the past five years on the board of the Chautauqua Region MS Society, and the past three as its president. CRMSS is a small, local organization that serves more 200 people with MS in the Chautauqua Region, including Warren, Pennsylvania, and Western Cattaraugus County, and provides educational programs and social activities that inspire fellowship with others who are living with MS. In the past three years, Gabalski has worked with the staff of the National MS Society Upstate New York Chapter Buffalo office in coordinating Walk MS Jamestown and local programs offered by the chapter.
Nicole Burroughs is a top individual fundraiser across all of Upstate New York for Walk MS, and this past year raised more than $5,500 for the chapter through the event. Burroughs also participates in MS Service Day, where teams of volunteers go into homes of people living with MS to help them with chores and minor household repairs that the homeowner would otherwise have trouble completing due to the progression of their MS.
Charles Joyce, of Wellsville, is the President of Otis Eastern Services, Inc., the leading northeast based pipeline contractor. He is being recognized for his involvement with the Upstate New York Chapter’s main fundraiser, Walk MS. Last spring, Joyce offered to match – up to $14,000 – the amount of money that Walk MS Wellsville participants raised. When walkers came close to the full amount to be matched, but weren’t quite able to raise it, Joyce outright donated $14,000.
Maria Torres has expanded awareness of MS to Buffalo’s west side, as well as the Spanish speaking community, by creating local support groups and translating written material into Spanish. She started a Walk MS team called, The CUREiously Walkers, which has grown significantly the past two years, and she organized creative fundraisers for the team. For instance, Maria recruited community barbers and created a fundraiser called Let's Shave MS. She developed another fundraiser called Let's Grill-Out MS, which involves the entire community.
The Queen City Roller Girls women’s flat track derby team of Western New York has been volunteering at various Upstate New York Chapter fundraising events over the past year. They also named the Upstate New York Chapter as a bout beneficiary. The proceeds from this bout made it possible for the chapter to provide its Women’s Health Information Program (MS WHIP) that allows women living with MS and their closest “teammates” to attend an all-woman educational program in the fall.
National Fuel Gas Company, in 2005, established the Employee Charitable Giving Program to further align the company's charitable support with the wishes of its employees. Employees may designate funds towards nonprofits like the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Upstate New York Chapter, and the Foundation will match those funds up to an annual dollar limit. In total, since 2005, National Fuel, its employees and the Foundation have given more than $8 million to more than 700 charitable organizations throughout the U.S., and that number continues to grow each year, as does the amount given. Additionally, National Fuel continues to support its employees and local nonprofits through various sponsorships and corporate partnerships. Through the company's Volunteer Incentive Program, employees receive recognition and incentives for participating in, and volunteering for, nonprofit events including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's annual Walk MS.
Champions On the Move Luncheon:
When: Friday, October 19, 2012
Time: 11:30 a.m. (networking), 12:00 p.m. (lunch & program)
Where: Acqua Restaurant and Banquets
2192 Niagara Street, Buffalo, 14207
On the Move is a nationwide educational and fundraising event that helps increase public awareness of MS and the National MS Society, while acknowledging and encouraging the advancement of philanthropists, community leaders and volunteers. The goal of the Champions On the Move Luncheon is to raise funds and empower each other to create a better future for those living with MS.
About multiple sclerosis and the National MS Society Upstate New York Chapter: Multiple sclerosis, an often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed. The rate of diagnosis in Upstate New York is about double the national average. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S., and more than 12,400 people in the 50-county region served by the Upstate New York Chapter. For more information, visit www.MSupstateny.org.