Three MS activists were recently inducted into the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Volunteer Hall of Fame during its annual Leadership Conference [held this year in Denver, CO] for their outstanding commitment to creating a world free of MS. Volunteers are recognized for their contributions in the areas of advocacy, funding the mission, programs and services, health professional care, and scientific research.
Congratulations to our 2017 Advocacy Volunteer Hall of Fame inductees:
Terry Farmer has made countless contributions in his 14 years of advocacy for issues affecting people with MS. But perhaps his biggest contribution has been leveraging his relationships with California state legislators from his years as a district attorney and deputy attorney general to advance the Society’s agenda on out-of pocket costs for medicines, safe needle disposal, transparency legislation and surprise billing. His methodical, fact-driven, moderate approach helped the Society earn tremendous respect in both hearings and legislative meetings. He has worked for passage of Society-sponsored and backed state legislation, and he has worked closely with three congressional offices as well. Terry’s work increased the number of MS activists thanks to his efforts recruiting and leading a second Government Relations Advisory Committee in Northern California, which enabled the Society to have a cadre of volunteers who could blanket the state Capitol before key votes. He has been an omnipresent force for change and a familiar figure riding through the halls of the state Capitol on his blue scooter with a signature BMW ornament attached.
Dr. Jennifer Gomez-Chavez
Ever since Jennifer “Jen” Gomez-Chavez was diagnosed with MS in 2007, she has devoted her time and
energy to Society programs. Growing up in a political family, Jen knows the importance of working with elected officials, and she was the first New Mexico MS activist to establish ongoing relationships with state legislators. She organized the first New Mexico State Action Day. She testifies regularly at legislative committee hearings about the impact of MS on her own life as well as others, particularly around the issues of healthcare and medications. She served as chair of the New Mexico Governmental Relations Advisory Committee. As a Activism Advisory Committee member and regular attendee of the Society’s Public Policy Conference, Jen also extends her expertise to the Society’s federal public policy priorities by making sure health disparities in rural areas and special populations are considered. In addition to her advocacy work, Jen participates every year in Walk MS® and Bike MS®, encouraging support from friends and family members.
Linda Roudebush has brought her proactive spirit and expertise in building relationships to a variety of Society advocacy efforts. She meets frequently with legislators at both the state and federal levels, making sure to connect on a personal level before launching discussions about Society policy issues. Linda’s experience being denied coverage of a prescription drug inspired the successful passage of a bill requiring that patients receive advanced notification of a prescription drug claim denial and creates an expedited appeals process. Linda worked tirelessly throughout the legislative process--meeting with committee members, providing testimony and more. She meets regularly with congressional delegates and even brought lunch to a congressman at his local office to educate him about MS and the need for research funding. Linda has attended the Society’s Public Policy Conference every year from 2013 to 2016, is an active District Activist Leader, and a passionate and dynamic member of the Texas Government Relations Advisory Committee. Most recently, Linda hosted Austin’s first Golden Circle event with a special focus on research and advocacy. Her generous underwriting of the event contributed to the Society’s development goals and allowed Society staff to develop relationships with new MS activists and influential community leaders.
Learn more about becoming a volunteer with the National MS Society at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Get-Involved/Volunteer