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The Virginia - West Virginia Chapter works to improve the quality of life for people affected by MS throughout Virginia and West Virginia, as well as three counties in northeastern North Carolina and seven counties in southeastern Kentucky, and raise funds for critical MS research. Join the movement toward a world free of MS.


Honoring a Great Man--Frank N. Cowan

September 17, 2015

Frank N. Cowan—August 15, 1936 - August 28, 2015

3He was called affectionately, although somewhat formally, Mr. Cowan. He was also known as Counselor, Mentor and Hokie. Friends called him Podge. His wife, Marianne, called him Sweetie. Most proudly, he was called Dad and Pop. But, names alone cannot describe Frank. He was larger than that. What carried him in his 79 years, and what will be sustained as his legacy, will be his graciousness, his genuine charm, his integrity, strength, passion for knowledge, pursuit of excellence and commitment to serving others.

With clear blue eyes, a firm handshake and a contagious smile, Frank never met a stranger. He wanted to know you. And, you felt you knew him instantly. He was a man with infinite kindness. In his engagement with others, from store clerk, to delivery person, to opposing attorney, to judge, Frank treated people with the kind of respect rarely seen. He was a true gentleman.

He focused on helping people find and sustain their own success. And, in so doing, they could achieve their boldest goals. He believed in the goodness of people and the importance of freedom. And he was certain we all shared in the responsibility of service and empowerment of others.

This commitment to service propelled him to work on several boards and committees. Since 2008, Frank had served on the National MS Society, Virginia –West Virginia Chapter’s Board of Trustees. And in 2013, he became the Chairman of the Board. In recognition of his passion and commitment to the Society and all of the community, the Chapter has renamed our most prestigious honor “The Frank N. Cowan Cup of Hope Award,” to be presented annually at the Richmond Dinner of Champions.

For those that would like to make a gift in honor of Frank, we have set up a memorial fund on our website (

About the Virginia - West Virginia Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society

The Virginia - West Virginia Chapter of the National MS Society provides comprehensive programs and advocacy to assist and empower the more than 12,000 individuals with multiple sclerosis residing throughout Virginia and West Virginia, as well as three counties in northeastern North Carolina and seven counties in southeastern Kentucky. The Virginia - West Virginia Chapter is also a driving force of research for the prevention, treatment and cure of MS and contributes funds to support National MS Society research projects worldwide. The Chapter has offices in Richmond, VA; Virginia Beach, VA; Charlottesville, VA; and Charleston, WV.

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.


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