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Quarterly Update

Summer 2023


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Global Consensus, Intentional Collaboration

Collaboration among global MS experts and organizations is critical to guiding the world to cures. Through the support of donors like you, the National MS Society is leading the charge by developing innovative plans and forums that harness the power and promise of global collaboration and aligned investment. No one entity can solve MS alone. See below to learn more about recent meetings where MS experts and leaders have gathered from all corners of the world to review progress, learn from one another and pave the way for life-changing solutions and cures for MS.

International Progressive MS Alliance Scientific Congress

June 14-16, 2023 in Vienna, Austria

Last month, the International Progressive MS Alliance, led by the Society, convened its fourth Scientific Congress where more than 100 leaders representing 18 countries united to review results of 25 Alliance Challenge Award projects focused on uncovering novel information on what leads to MS progression. Five of the most promising projects will be advanced for follow-on funding with the hope that findings lead to new therapeutic options for slowing or stopping progression for those living with progressive MS.

Hear from some of the world’s top MS researchers in the RealTalk MS Podcast Congress recap, and check out this inspiring webcast recording from the Congress, outlining research advancements that could lead to ending MS progression.

Attendees gather around a poster at the International Progressive MS Alliance Scientific Congress Attendees watch a presentation at the International Progressive MS Alliance Scientific Congress

Pathways to Cures Global Summit

May 2-3, 2023

Attendees gather at the Pathway to Cures Global SummitIn May, the Society hosted the inaugural Pathways to Cures Global Summit, welcoming nearly 200 leading MS experts and specialists to refine the Pathways to Cures Research Roadmap and develop a global strategy for collaboration and aligned investment into areas of high opportunity to speed the development of cures. Published last year in the prestigious Multiple Sclerosis Journal with leadership from the Society, the Roadmap serves as the world’s first global MS research agenda.

The comprehensive event summary describes priority outcomes, such as:

  • defining global priorities on critical topics like Epstein-Barr virus
  • developing biology-based terminology for defining different stages of MS
  • focusing on biological mechanisms underlying the onset of MS
  • exploring strategies to overcome obstacles to data sharing.

Next steps as defined by the Pathways to Cures Scientific Committee include:

  • Applying recommendations for roadmap refinement and publishing an updated version later this year
  • Development of a global research strategy group involving executive and research leadership of MS advocacy organizations funding MS research
  • Conducting a landscape assessment to comprehend the global scope of MS research being conducted to help determine gaps and opportunities for further collaboration and aligned investment

Attendees gather around a table at the Pathway to Cures Global SummitIn closing at the Summit, Society President and CEO Cyndi Zagieboylo said, “MS organizations exist because there are people with MS all over the world. With our shared passion and commitment and a global strategy, we will achieve cures.”

Learn more from Pathways to Cures through these encouraging recaps:

Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) 37th Annual Meeting

May 31-June 3, 2023

As the largest North American meeting for researchers and professionals in MS care – CMSC connected more than 2,000 healthcare providers to engage and discuss pathways to stopping MS and restoring lost function and quality of life through MS researcher and clinician collaboration. Many studies showed the continued benefits of available therapies and longer-term safety information.

Review the study highlights featured at the conference or listen to a RealTalk MS podcast where meeting participants discuss highlights.

Progress is unfolding at a rapid rate and we are moving closer to a world free of MS. Thank you for making this essential collaboration possible.

MS Changemakers: Forging A Resounding Legacy – In Memory of John Grout

John Grout winks and salutesThe imprint of a father’s influence is unmistakable. From an early age, Monty Grout observed how his dad’s infectious positivity and intentional thinking was deeply beneficial to his outlook on life. Diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS at the age of 28, John Grout endured countless symptoms and health setbacks. Yet he remained a constant pillar of positivity and encouragement – especially for his three children, Monty, Jonathan and Mindy.

As an adult, Monty recalled the challenges his dad grappled with and sought to contribute to the MS community in his memory. He decided join the Society as a MS Changemaker, by supporting the Society’s research efforts. He was so inspired by his dad’s influence within the MS community that he was compelled to contribute to improving the lives of people living with MS. Monty fondly remembers the exceptional impression his dad made on his life and the lives of others, beginning many decades ago.

John instilled in his children a competitive and athletic spirit. A passionate tennis fan, he hosted the MS Tennis Tournament in 1985, raising funds by hosting celebrities and round-robin play among tennis professionals. Even though John couldn’t play, he donned a brand new, bright white tennis outfit his kids bought for him. “He felt ready to play!” Monty explained. In addition to hosting the tennis tournament, the family participated in Walk MS, and hosted Society events in their home for many years.

The Grout family poses in front of a National MS Society banner.Also in 1985, daughter Mindy submitted John as “MS Father of the Year” – a past honor awarded by the Society. His children describe him as a “quiet hero who deserved to be acknowledged and recognized.” And acknowledged he was. Upon receiving the title, John was celebrated by his local Society chapter in Nevada. The fanfare continued in the Oval Office where he met Ronald Reagan, and was accompanied by Monty and Jonathan, who felt the meeting was an incredibly special memory for their family. Through these celebrations, John felt completely seen and acknowledged – the ultimate goal of his children.

Years later, Monty secured a grant from the VA to help build a specialized pool so John could swim every day. John loved the water and “water skied” on Mission Bay with the help of an instructor who held him as he skimmed the surface. “I’m symptom-free when I’m in water,” he’d say. Seeing how much their dad savored being on the bay, the siblings purchased a jet ski and board to pull John around, which he loved.

John never met a stranger and was known for his perpetual glass half-full mentality. He always felt he would beat MS by harnessing his competitive spirit and believed his positive scope on life led to a longer life. His strength and tenacity defied the expectations of doctors, and he always held fast to hope that he would walk again someday. He gracefully managed MS for 50 years before passing away at the age of 78. 

The Society is grateful for the enduring legacy of John Grout and Monty’s thoughtful approach to honoring the memory of his father.

MS Changemakers logoMS Changemakers are a group of individuals whose generosity of $5,000 or more per year collectively provides one of the most significant sources of support for the National MS Society’s work in communities across the country and global leadership to move us closer to a cure.

Learn more about becoming an MS Changemaker and how this special group of supporters is changing MS forever.


© 2023 The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is a tax exempt 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Its Identification Number (EIN) is 13-5661935.