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Statement from National Multiple Sclerosis Society

February 21, 2024

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society apologizes to our longtime, dedicated volunteer Fran Itkoff. Recently, we asked Fran to step down from her role as a group leader because of statements made that we viewed as not aligning with our recently implemented diversity, equity and inclusion policy. We realize now that we made a mistake, and we should have had more conversations with Fran before making this decision. 

Over her 60 years of volunteer service, Fran has been a committed champion for our cause. We had an opportunity to work with her and support her as a self-help group volunteer leader, but as an organization, we fell short. 

While we acted at the time with the best intentions, we did not have clear protocols in place. We should have spent more time with Fran to help her understand why, as an organization, we are dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive movement where everyone has equitable access to the care, connections, and support they need to live their best lives.   

We apologized to Fran directly and reached out to her to find a way to continue to work together. In the spirit of continuous learning, we are focused on evaluating our processes and fortifying our learning to ensure our team members are equipped on the best ways to implement all of our policies. We want everyone to feel confident and supported in their roles. This work is a journey requiring commitment, accountability, transparency, and courage. 

The National MS Society is a nonpartisan organization committed to one bold vision - a world free of MS. The support of our volunteers is essential to achieving our mission and ensuring people affected by MS can live their best lives. MS does not discriminate, and everyone who shares our vision of a world free of MS is welcome here.  

We invite all to join the movement to create a world free of MS. Together we are stronger.  

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. Currently there is no cure. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include disabling fatigue, mobility challenges, cognitive changes, and vision issues. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to minimize disability. Significant progress is being made to achieve a world free of MS.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National MS Society, founded in 1946, is the global leader of a growing movement dedicated to creating a world free of MS. The Society funds cutting-edge research for a cure, drives change through advocacy and provides programs and services to help people affected by MS live their best lives. Connect to learn more and get involved:, Facebook, X, formerly known as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or 1-800-344-4867.


© 2024 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.