2008 Advocacy Year in Review
* The National Conference of State Legislators recognized Texas as the only state in the country to pass a resolution to end the 24-month wait for Medicare health benefits; efforts were led and initiated by the National MS Society: Lone Star.
* The National MS Society sponsored three MS activists and one staff member to receive training at the Disability Policy Consortium Housing Summit. Activists met personally with Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. to discuss Texas housing accessibility needs.
* Lone Star staff conducted ongoing meetings with Innovative Neurotronics, manufacturer of the Walk Aide, to discuss advocacy efforts to have the Walk Aide become insurance-reimbursed, as well as have selected MS clients participate in demonstrations to receive a free Walk Aide.
* The Neighbor to Neighbor program was launched during MS Awareness Week. This new program allows people with MS to be linked with community volunteers for assistance with tasks such as grocery shopping and lawn care. Neighbor to Neighbor was launched in Houston (Katy), Dallas (Plano), San Antonio (New Braunfels) and Austin (Round Rock).
* Three MS Town Hall Meetings were held in Corpus Christi, Weslaco and Abilene. Town Hall programs allowed citizens to address concerns about accessibility in public places, transportation for people with disabilities, access to health care, employment and other important issues.
* National MS Society: Lone Star received an outstanding award in advocacy at the Society's Programs, Services and Advocacy annual conference in Florida.
* National MS Society: Lone Star was the recipient of the Society’s prestigious Cavallo Gold Circle Award for Client and Clinical Programs and Advocacy
* 10 Government Relations Committee (GRC) meetings were held, including one in-person Annual Meeting. Five new committee members were added. The GRC consists of committed volunteers who direct the statewide advocacy program.
* Eight organized community activism campaigns were initiated in partnership with local MS activists to address community transportation and accessibility issues.
* Four MS activists and one staff member presented testimonies before the Health and Human Services and Senate State Affairs Committees as a result of two Legislative Committee Interim charges requested by the chapter for the Texas Health Insurance Risk Pool (THIRP) and Family Caregiver Respite programs.
* Texas MS activist Doris Varnell of Austin was inducted into the National MS Society Hall of Fame for Advocacy.