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Breakthrough MS Five-Year Impact Report


The Impact of Your Investment

Breakthrough MS impact

This year marks 75 years of progress for the National MS Society — and thanks to your generous support of the Breakthrough MS Campaign, our progress has transformed the MS movement. Together, we achieved as much progress in the last five years as the 70 that preceded it. Thanks to you, we’ve never been closer to a cure.

Learn about what you made possible through our Breakthrough MS Five-Year Impact Report.

Five-Year Impact Report


Ron and Guadalupe Cohn: Inspiring Donors Invested in Finding a Cure for MS

Continuing Ron’s Grandmother’s Search to Find Answers

The Cohn Family; Aaron, Lesley, David (center), Guadalupe, Ron, and Helene.

The Cohn Family; Aaron, Lesley, David (center), Guadalupe, Ron, and Helene
(click the photo for a larger version)

The Cohn family is well known in the San Diego area for being active – for many generations – in giving back to others and making the world a better place. The Cohn Family has been described as loving, caring, supportive, kind, and with a zest for life. Thus, it wasn’t surprising when Ron became involved with the MS Dinner Auction to support a friend who was a trustee at the National MS Society.
Like the rest of their family, Ron and Guadalupe are philanthropic by nature and are always looking to lend a hand. Their giving often goes above and beyond. For example, they would buy up silent auction prizes at the event, so they could give them out to people experiencing homelessness in Mexico. 
After attending the MS Dinner Auction for several years, Ron and Guadalupe came across a letter written by Ron’s grandmother Gerda in 1942. Ron had never gotten to know his grandmother – who lived in New York City and died in her 50s – but as it turns out, she herself had MS.

Gerda letter

Letter, written by Gerda to her doctor in 1942 (click the letter for a larger version)

In the letter, Gerda had written to a doctor looking for help, saying:

"So far [multiple sclerosis] has not affected my speech, hearing, eyes, arms or hands, but has weakened my bladder. I keep myself active in my home as much as possible and still do my own cooking, baking and sewing, etc. I am 38 years old, married, have 2 children ages 13 and 12 years.
[I was] told how wonderfully you helped a patient to walk again. If you think you can do something for me I would be only too glad to come and see you."

Ron and Guadalupe’s connection to the Society deepened after reading Gerda’s letter. They drew a strong parallel between Gerda’s story and how Sylvia Lawry, the Society’s founder, had placed a New York Times classified advertisement in 1945, looking for help for her brother with MS. Although treatments and support have come a long way since the 1940s, there is still a lot of work to be done… and Ron and Guadalupe want to help make more progress happen!

Gerda (bottom right), diagnosed in 1938

Gerda (bottom right), diagnosed in 1938

To support the expansion of MS workforce, Ron and Guadalupe recently pledged $300,000 through the Breakthrough MS campaign to fund scientific fellows as they seek a cure for MS. Ron and Guadalupe’s generosity will help cultivate the next generation of research leaders to advance breakthroughs along the pathways to a cure and improve the lives of people living with MS.
Through their caring generosity, Ron and Guadalupe continue the search for answers about MS that was started by Ron’s grandmother many decades ago.
Pacific South Coast Chapter President, Janet Hamada-Kelley shares, “We are so fortunate to have them as a friends and donors of the MS movement. Ron and Guadalupe’s desire to help address the many challenges of MS, and support young scientists uncovering answers, is helping to take great strides toward a world without this disease.”

Thank You

Breakthrough MS® has transformed life for people affected by MS. This is a direct result of dedicated supporters like you who are devoted to doing something about MS and have confidence in the National MS Society’s ability to drive progress forward. With just over a month left in Breakthrough MS, help us reach a record-breaking $900 million raised to further accelerate progress and realize cures.

We now know the next chapter in our journey to end MS could be the last. It’s only been possible with you.

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