From the President
Chapter President & CEO
“Yes we can” were the words that resonated throughout President Obama’s campaign in 2008. They were also the rallying cry of National MS Society President Joyce Nelson during the national conference in 2007 as she generated enthusiasm for the Society’s challenging new goals. “Yes we can” is a powerful message that bears repeating. Yes we can create a world free of MS by funding research into prevention, treatment, and cure. Yes we can help people today whose lives are affected by MS with education, support, services, and advocacy. Advocacy is democracy in action. Advocacy is citizens talking to elected officials about their lives and what’s most important to them. Congress and state legislatures govern in large degree based on their understanding of what best serves the common good. The choices they make are influenced by many interests, but mostly by people who take the time to call, write, email, or visit. Yes, professional lobbyists exert a large degree of pressure on Washington and in State Capitols, but that only underscores the need for you, for people who have multiple sclerosis and for people who care about them, to take action. March 2 through 8 is MS Awareness Week. Use that time to talk to your State and Federal Senators and Representatives. March 9 through 11 is the Society’s Public Policy Conference in Washington, DC, where several Central New England Chapter members and staff will meet with New Hampshire and Massachusetts members of Congress and ask for support of the Society’s “Seven Principles of Health Care Reform.” (Read the seven principles
on the front page and visit online: www.nationalMSsociety.org/healthcareprinciples
.) Locally, April 15 is MS Action Day on Beacon Hill
, our annual advocacy rally in Massachusetts, where we gather in the Great Hall of the State House and then meet with State Senators and Representatives and their key legislative aides. Yes, April 15 is tax day, which is all the more reason to take action. Pay your taxes, and then go get your money’s worth! In whichever way you choose to participate, in person, in Washington, or on Beacon Hill, or by writing letters or emails, or by phone calling (yes, they do answer your calls!), please do participate. Yes we can change government to be more responsive to the needs of people with multiple sclerosis, but only if you tell them what you need. Visit www.nationalMSsociety.org/advocacy
, and sign up for the Action Alert Network, and take action to create a world free of MS!
John H. Lynch named Governor of the Year 2008
|Bill signing/Accessible Parking Month Proclamation ceremony. Sept. 5, 2008, Governor’s Chambers.
The Honorable Governor John H. Lynch has been named the National MS Society “Governor of the Year 2008.” Governor Lynch has undertaken many approaches that are moving us closer to our vision of a world free of MS.
The Chapter greatly appreciates the Governor’s commitment to past funding of the State’s Catastrophic Illness Fund. This fund benefits low-income citizens with MS by providing assistance for out of pocket health care expenses. The Governor signed a Chapter sponsored accessible parking legislation into law. He also declared October 2008, “Accessible Parking Awareness Month.”
The Chapter continues to applaud the Governor for progress underway to achieve meaningful health care reform. In 2005, he launched his new Citizen’s Health Initiative aimed at improving access to affordable quality care. In April 2008, he issued innovative Executive Order 2008-06 directing the Citizen’s Health Initiative to develop a health information technology strategic plan which reflects NMSS principle 6. In 2006 when enrollment for Medicare Part D was lagging, Governor Lynch wrote to President Bush, Secretary Leavitt and the congressional delegation to urge extension of the May 15 enrollment deadline. This was followed by Executive Order 2006-02 allowing the state to provide emergency assistance to beneficiaries who could not access their prescriptions due to implementation problems.
During the employee holiday party on Friday, December 19, Chapter staff held a raffle of hand made crafts, gift certificates, and more. Sales of raffle tickets to staff, Trustees, and Chapter friends yielded over $2,000 to help five HomeLINKS families with holiday food and gifts for their children.
At the November 21 Board Meeting, the Chapter voted in favor of funding for a specific approved research project under the direction of Dr. Howard Weiner at the Partners MS Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The Chapter's commitment is for the first year of the three-year, $551,823 project, which could provide a better understanding of ‘dendritic’ cells and how they fit into the immune attack in MS, and may lead to the development of new treatment approaches. Weiner’s team has discovered that dendritic cells may be abnormal in MS, and the next step is to determine how they contribute to the disease process and how approved therapies may alter their activity.