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The Wisconsin Chapter works to improve the quality of life for people affected by MS in Wisconsin and raise funds for critical MS research. Join the movement toward a world free of MS.


National Multiple Sclerosis Society-Wisconsin Chapter 2014 Board of Trustees Announced

December 10, 2013

The board appoints the Rev. James Kaestner, and recognizes the retirements of Molly Walsh and Shelley Peterman Schwarz.

(HARTLAND, WISCONSIN) – The National Multiple Sclerosis Society-Wisconsin Chapter named its 2014 Board of Trustees during its annual meeting held Thursday, Dec. 5. The Governance Committee appointed the Rev. James Kaestner to a two-year term and approved for re-election the following individuals for three-year terms:
  • Dennis Christiansen
  • Tom Golden (vice chair)
  • Michael Lutze (vice chair)
  • Martin McLaughlin
  • David Rayisch
  • James Rose (treasurer)
They were re-elected to a three-year term. They join fellow Board of Trustee members Anne Brouwer, Robert Buhler, Robert Engel, Pamela Evason (vice chair), Paul Jones, Wayne Larsen, Kenneth Minor (past chair), David Rodgers (chair), Robert Sowinski (secretary), Jeffrey Steren, Robyn Turtenwald, Alyson Zierdt, and Wisconsin Chapter President and CEO Colleen  Kalt.

Kaestner joined the MS Movement after his wife, Judy, was diagnosed with MS. He is a 20-year veteran of the Wisconsin Chapter’s Bike MS: Best Dam Bike Ride. Kaestner has an extensive history in parish ministry throughout Wisconsin, beginning with the Trinity Episcopal Church in Janesville. He spent the majority of his career with St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Racine, where he served as rector from 1975 to his retirement in 1997. Kaestner served as Chaplain President of the Clergy Association, on the board of St. Luke’s Hospital and was a member of the planning committee that established insured health care provisions at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Marshfield Clinic, among other leadership positions.  He continues to serve Episcopal Parishes in southeastern Wisconsin.

The Board of Trustees also bid farewell to Molly Walsh  and Shelley Peterman Schwarz, who both retired from the board following Thursday’s meeting. Walsh is the co-founder of Groundwork Consulting, and she joined the MS Movement to help find a cure for her mother’s MS. She initiated “On the Move Madison” with fellow Trustees, and she has been instrumental in connecting people with MS in Madison with the Society.

Peterman Schwarz is the president of Meeting Life’s Challenges, which is an organization offering solutions for coping with chronic illness, disabilities and age-related limitations. She is a nationally recognized motivational speaker, author and syndicated columnist. Peterman Schwarz was diagnosed with MS three decades ago, and joined the Board of Trustees in 2007. That same year, she was inducted to the National MS Society’s Volunteer Hall of Fame.

The board welcomed two guest speakers: Bonnie Dittel, PhD, senior investigator at the BloodCenter of Wisconsin-Blood Research Institute and an assistant adjunct professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, whose studies into immune system regulation have been widely recognized by the National MS Society’s Volunteer Hall of Fame for her contributions to scientific research in November; and MS Run the US founder Ashley Kumlien, who coordinated a 3,000-mile relay across the country this year that raised $180,000 for MS research.

In addition to direct donations to the Chapter at, anyone interested in showing their support for the more than 10,000 children, women and men in Wisconsin diagnosed with multiple sclerosis is invited to register for the upcoming MS Snowmobile Tour in January; Walk MS events in April, May and September; Bike MS: Best Dam Bike Ride in August, or Challenge Walk MS in September; or make a donation to the Chapter. More than 83 cents of every dollar raised supports MS-related research, program and services.

The Wisconsin Chapter’s office is located in Hartland, Wis.

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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