Hope Award: Patty Shepherd-Barnes
For the past 18 years Patty Shepherd-Barnes has dedicated her life to the MS Community. Under her leadership, the Greater Northwest (formerly Washington) Chapter has set and achieved record-breaking fundraising goals year after year. Known for tenacity and boldness, Patty has grown the Chapter from a $2.7 million organization to one that generates over $7 million a year.
Not only does she hold the respect of the Seattle business, nonprofit, and Catholic communities, Patty has also enjoyed the support of very strong board members throughout her entire career. Current and former board alike will say the same: “You just don’t say ‘no’ to Patty.”
Patty has created a culture that encourages innovation, teamwork and creativity throughout the Chapter. Without ever compromising her exceptionally high standards of performance or excellence, she creates an atmosphere in which the personal lives of her team are honored and balanced. Daily check-ins, personal acknowledgement, and sincere appreciation are hallmarks of her leadership.
During her tenure at the Society, Patty oversaw the creation of the Chapter’s local MS Navigator program, the Fast Forward research initiative, hundreds of Walk MS and Bike MS events, luncheons, galas, and client programs, all while passionately helping thousands of people affected by MS to live their best lives. Patty is known for her inspired and generous leadership as well as impeccable style – and we are excited to celebrate her in that same way!
Spirit Award: Erin Ewing
Life changed quickly for Erin Ewing in the year 2000 when she was diagnosed with MS while a student at Washington State University. At the start, Erin was quiet about her MS. But in 2006 she decided to change that. Erin, her husband Mike, and their closest friends had a “coming out” party and kicked off their Walk MS team – F*MS.
Since then, Erin has encouraged and inspired people to live their best lives – with or without MS. In 2012, a Bike MS team was formed by Erin’s close friends and family – the Wolf Pack Project – and to date, Mike and Erin have raised over $100,000 to end MS. On any given day, Erin can be found recruiting support on Facebook by sharing her personal story, crafting children’s cardboard playhouses to be sold to support her team’s fundraising, and being a vocal advocate for those living with MS.
At the Bike MS: Deception Pass Classic Rally in 2017, Erin shared her dream for the future: A world FREE of multiple sclerosis.