Three MS Activists Inducted into the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Volunteer Hall of Fame
December 3, 2019
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 Atlanta, GA] 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 2019 Advocacy Volunteer Hall of Fame inductees:
Therese Humphrey Ball
Advocating at both the state and federal level, Therese Humphrey Ball has helped to advance policies that address access to MS medications, including step therapy reform and requirements for greater transparency from drug manufacturers. Because of her contributions, the Society has celebrated victories on issues including continuity of coverage for medications and consumer protections for those enrolling in short-term health plans that do not provide adequate coverage for people with chronic health conditions. Therese has also helped the Society raise awareness in Congress around the increasing price of MS medications and secure a state-level hearing on drug prices, specifically focusing on the price of insulin and MS medications. Therese continuously helps to organize strong legislator outreach on behalf of MS issues and has been involved with efforts to recruit new, and engage existing, MS activists in every part of the Society’s work. She has been fearless in her efforts to advance policies that improve the lives of people with MS and recruit other activists to become involved.
Relying on his skills as a construction salesman, Chris Hoover is a powerful advocate and fundraiser for the Society. As an MS activist, he lobbies members of the North Carolina Congressional Delegation and North Carolina General Assembly to pass the Society’s funding and legislative priorities, which include MS research, access to affordable medications and quality healthcare, and accessible housing. This year, with Chris’ leadership, the Society was able to move step therapy reform legislation and an accessible home modifications fund through the General Assembly. Chris shares that the core of his support system for living with MS are his three “Fs”: family, friends and faith. He and his wife, Felicia, are the heart of Team Hoover, a top fundraising team at Bike MS: Historic New Bern and supporters of Walk MS sites across North Carolina. Chris’ triplet daughters work with their parents to raise awareness about MS among young people and encourage participation in MS advocacy and events.
As former Mayor of Sacramento, Heather Fargo has leveraged her relationships to advance Society initiatives by strengthening ties to members of the California State legislature and congressional members. She was instrumental in passing state legislation including the 2017 SB 17–RX Transparency, which implements reporting requirements and adequate notice of prescription drug price increases. Heather has been a driving force behind the Society’s support of SB 280 Home Modification/Fall Prevention and was involved in helping to formulate building standards requiring fall prevention structural features in single and multifamily dwellings. Heather also helped recruit four MS Caucus members, several co-sponsors of federal legislation and enrolled both Republican and Democrat leaders to author resolutions honoring MS Awareness Week. Heather has been one of the Society’s most effective spokespersons urging the need for research for persons with progressive forms of MS. Together with Dr. John Schafer, Director of the Sacramento Area Mercy MS Center, she met with Northern California Representatives earning support for the Society-backed National Institutes of Health Medical Scholars Research Program funding levels annually. Her advocacy with both Sacramento and Bay Area congressional members garnered support for the National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System and continues to make a difference in the lives of those affected by MS.
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.