Bill MacNally: Active every day
In the early 1990s, Bill MacNally, now 60, was involved with a successful charity bike ride in Minnesota. One year, a staffer laid out a plan to “do in” the MS 150 and replace it as the dominant ride in Minnesota. “That really bothered me,” Bill said. “Our ride was supposed to be fun and for charity, not to eliminate someone else’s charity.”
So he proposed a merger to the Minnesota Chapter. “We offered our staff, our rider list, our partners and advertising dollars.”
The chapter officer wanted to know how many seats on the Board of Trustees Bill wanted in return. He wasn’t interested.
Ironically, a couple of months later, Bill started feeling weak and not long after that, was diagnosed with MS.
The next time the Minnesota MS Society offered him a Board seat, he accepted. Since then he has been an active leader in almost every aspect of the Society—serving on many state and two national committees. In 2009, he was named by Mpls St. Paul magazine as outstanding board member for service on the Minnesota Chapter’s Board.
As a hospital administrator with an interest in health policy, Bill had been active in ensuring passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He was at the White House in 1990 when the original bill was signed. He was there again last summer for the ADA’s 20th anniversary. “It’s exciting both to have a president who’s committed to the ADA and that the federal government is going to do more to hire people with disabilities,” he said. “And getting to stand within 15 feet of the president isn’t bad!”
In 2001, Bill had to retire from his demanding job. He hasn’t had a flare since then, but “MS reminds me every day that I have it. I walk with a cane and brace on my leg, but I get out and exercise and stay involved.
“I have a good life. MS gave me a chance to refocus, instead of getting that bigger job with a lot more stress and making significantly more money. I was given the precious gift of time. Time to spend on the important things in life—my family, friends, giving to my community and taking care of myself.”