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National MS Society Receives Life-Changing Gift to Help People with MS Live Their Best Lives

June 9, 2016

Multi-year $3 million gift will fund the Edward M. Dowd Personal Advocate Program

NEW YORK, June 9, 2016 – The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has received a significant life-changing gift that will establish and fund the Edward M. Dowd Personal Advocate Program, to accelerate expansion of personalized case management for people living with MS who need specialized services – regardless of where they live.  The $3 million, multi-year gift is the largest outright gift ever received by the Society from an individual donor. 
The Edward M. Dowd Personal Advocate Program will expand the Society’s services for people living with MS, ensuring that personalized case management can be more consistently available to those needing more in-depth services and support. For too many people living with MS, significant challenges and roadblocks prevent them from living their best lives. Disease progression, employment issues, social and environmental factors, family issues and more, can present seemingly insurmountable obstacles to receiving needed housing, home care, medical equipment, insurance and other community resources and support. Dowd’s gift is transformative; it will greatly expand the Society’s nationwide network of trained case managers who are knowledgeable about MS and who can provide the level of support necessary for navigating the complex challenges of MS.  
“This life-changing gift will accelerate the collective and individual ability of people affected by MS to live their best lives – connected, solution-focused, and resilient,” said the Society’s President and CEO Cyndi Zagieboylo. “People affected by MS have a supportive partner in the Society to access the information and resources they need to make life choices and to find sustainable, life changing solutions.”
Ed Dowd, a financier and philanthropist living with MS, credits his diagnosis as “one of the best things that ever happened” to him, as it helped broaden his life’s focus and leverage his business success into developing a love of art and a passion for philanthropy to causes and communities important to him.
“I realize the value of services for people with limitations. I have help navigating life with MS, but I often wonder how people without sufficient resources manage even the day to day tasks,” says Dowd. “My overall focus is to help improve the quality of life for people with MS who do not have the financial means to get the support they need. Specifically, my goal is to assist the fifteen percent of people with MS who face the greatest challenges.”

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. 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 with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.


© 2020 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and our Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.