Donna Wattman first became involved with the National MS Society more than 30 years ago, shortly after she received her own diagnosis. It had become too difficult for her to work full-time, so instead, she decided that she would volunteer at the National MS Society office in New York City. For many years, she helped with whatever needed to be done in the office and at events.
Eventually, Donna’s MS progressed to the point where she couldn’t manage taking the bus anymore and had to stop volunteering. It was around that time that her husband Malcolm (“Mal”), a man with many years of legal and financial experience on Wall Street, joined the Board in New York City as a way to do what he could to support his wife and other people with MS.
Today, Donna describes her husband as “Mr. MS” and says he is “the smartest guy she’s ever known.” Through his contribution of time, Mal has played an important role in the progress of MS research, as well as making life easier for those who are living with this disease. As a board member for the last 15 years (serving as both a National Director and local trustee), he’s optimistic about where things stand today.
“The Society has recently renewed their focus on talking about a cure” says Mal. “Researchers are far enough along that the concept of a cure is now possible. We are getting on top of the progression of the disease, and maybe someday will be able to end it forever.”
During the difficult time of COVID-19, Mal has continued to take part in board meetings virtually from his home in South Florida. He and Donna were also recently recognized for their incredible contributions at a virtual version of the New York City Dinner of Champions, something that Donna says was “such an honor.”
In addition to their generosity of time, Donna and Mal have recently achieved an incredible milestone in their personal giving and fundraising—they have given and raised a collective $1 million in support over the years.
Armed with a fierce desire to help however they can, Donna and Mal have also become members of the prestigious Lawry Circle by designating gifts through their will and the charitable annuity program. By making this commitment, they hope to set an example for all other supporters concerned about finding a cure in the future.
“We hope to support cures and different ways of helping people who have this disease,” Mal says. “Fortunately, we have had a good life, and we want to give back to other people,” adds Donna.
Thank you to this hard-working and philanthropic couple for playing such an important role in the work of the Society. Your heart-warming generosity of time and treasure has been an inspiration to everyone you come in contact with, and has done so much to help people affected by MS.