Not even Multiple Sclorsis can stop me…
The Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the National MS Society hosted an exceptional luncheon at the Westin Downtown hotel on Thursday, September 15, 2016.
The annual event was presented by EKS&H with the goal to raise awareness and funds in order to provide services and support for the 100,000 people in Colorado and Wyoming affected by multiple sclerosis.
Guest speaker Connie Carpenter-Phinney, winner of the first ever women’s Olympic cycling road race in Summer 1984, shares her inspirational story of triumph as an Olympic athlete and national champion. Wife of world renown cycling champion Davis Phinney and mother of two, she understands first-hand the adversity of chronic illnesses and challenges of caregiving and renewed hope. She is an active board member of the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s in Boulder.
Mary Rhinehart, CEO of Johns-Manville, was recognized with the 2016 MS Spirit Award by Novartis.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or donor of the annual MS on the Move Luncheon, please contact Adrienne Torres, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 303-698-5446 or Jamie Froyd at email@example.com.
The Rocky Mt. Multiple Sclerosis Center 2016 Gala attracted more than 400 guests at the Denver Sheraton Downtown on Sept 10 with Keynote Speaker Kim Ball, who described her challenges with the disease that afflicts about half a million people in the U.S. alone.
RMMSC CEO Gina Berg, Event Chair Adrienne Fitzgibbons, Board Chair Brett Hanselman thanked sponsors and guests for a strong turnout with Presenting Sponsor—Denver Life Magazine– Publisher Kristin Miller and husband, Shawn, both on hand to enjoy the celebration.
MS is a progressive and unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body. The cause of MS is unknown and there is no known cure. The severity of MS varies from person to person and various treatments are available to slow disease progression.
Keynote Speaker Kim Ball was diagnosed with MS just as she was starting her family. Although she was warned by doctors that going through with a pregnancy could worsen her MS, she was determined to live her life as she had planned. Today, her daughter Sienna, 10, is by her side and together they share their story of living with the challenges of the disease day by day.
Special Thanks went to this year’s sponsors and supporters:
• University of Colorado Hospital & Rocky Mountain MS Center at University of Colorado
• Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel
• Colorado State Bank and Trust
•The Denver Post
• The Johnson Family
For more information about programs, volunteering or making a donation, please visit www.mscenter.org
Rebekah Gregory is an honest-to-goodness inspiration.
It’s not everyday one has the opportunity to listen to a survivor’s story. Or, to hear about their horrendous ordeal told with humor and compassion. At the National Multiple Sclerosis On The Move luncheon, Rebekah Gregory’s horrifying experience at one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in U.S. history, changed her life forever.
She walked with poise to the podium in a beautiful black lace overlay dress starkly revealing ‘Felicia,’ her prosthetic left leg. Her gait was so perfect one assumed the visible mechanical apparatus was part of the outfit.
Then Rebekah Gregory began to recall the day that is still too vivid in her mind. She was watching the 2013 Boston Marathon, struggling to keep her six year son occupied as the race dragged on for him. Her runner was close to the finish line so she suggested he sit on her feet and play with pebbles on the ground, assuring him it was almost over. Out of boredom, he sat on her feet. Next thing, one week later, Rebekah Gregory awoke in a Boston hospital. Her left leg was mangled. Thankfully her son was treated for minor cuts and lacerations and released. He was alive and well. That was enough to get her through the next two years.
Gregory gave an enlivened talk that moved the audience, not to tears but laughter. She is a natural at this. Her story is terrible but, like she said, “If you’re given lemons, well, heck, you don’t even have to make lemonade if you don’t like it. You can make a lemon meringue pie.”
And that is what Gregory has done. She hated running. Now she is running in a marathon later this year. She hates strapping on Felicia some days but, she wants to get up and get on with her day so, she puts Felicia on and gets going.
Rebekah Gregory was a ray of sunshine and source of strength to the people of the audience who were either fighting the effects of MS or searching for a cure.
Michael King was awarded the MS Spirit Award presented by Novartis. He said he is looking forward to the day he no longer needs to ride his bike for MS, because, when that day comes, he smiled, there will be a cure for the debilitating disease, multiple sclerosis.
This year’s theme, MS on the Move luncheon was organized to raise awareness and funds to provide services and support for the 100,000 people in Colorado and Wyoming affected by multiple sclerosis.
Become a supporter of this important organization by visiting, cureMSco-wy.org; or call 1-800-FIGHT-MS (344-4867). The chapter office is located at 900 S. Broadway, Suite 250, Denver.
Anyone who can make a crowd of well-heeled guests put on red clown noses and clap enthusiastically must have some kinda personality.
That was putting it mildly, as Dr. Patch Adams was special guest at the Rocky Mountain MS Center’s annual gala on Saturday, and he had a memorable message for guests: you have the choice to be who you are, and you have a choice to be happy.
The crowd was very attentive as the eclectic Adams talked to them about some of his philosophies and took questions (but guests had to do something outlandish before they were allowed to ask). Adams has traveled the world with friends and followers dressed as clowns and other characters, and most people recognize the name from the famous biographical movie in which Robin Williams portrayed him.
This was a special evening, with comments from RMMSC CEO Gina Berg, Event Chairs Louise Richardson and Arlene Mohler Johnson, Board Chair Brett Hanselman, Denver Life Magazine’s Kristin Miller (presenting sponsor) and board member Jeff Wren, who forged a friendship with Patch Adams many years ago.
The Rocky Mountain MS Center’s mission: Improving the quality of life for individuals and their families living with MS and related neurological diseases through care, support, education and research.
The Rocky Mountain MS Center was founded in 1978 by Dr. Jack Burks and N. Daren Writer. Mr. Writer was diagnosed with MS in 1974. He was told “there was nothing anyone could do about MS,” and to “go home and put his affairs in order.” This was unacceptable to this exceptional man of action and business leader. He sought out a brilliant, young neurologist who was dedicated to finding the cause of MS and a cure for the disease. Like Mr. Writer, Dr. Burks believed something could be done for people living with MS. Together they created a single, comprehensive facility to treat people with MS and find the cause and a cure.
Since then, the RMMSC has grown and continued to provide support and research for those with MS. For more information about programs and other information, log on to www.mscenter.org.
If ever there was a “poster child” for the fact that with some perseverance, energy and passion, a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis doesn’t have to completely slow you down, it’s Sandee Walling. Even though she admittedly gets in situations where she needs a little help here and there (she says that was tough because of how independent she’s always been), it’s evident that Sandee is as vibrant and active as ever, and she is much loved in the community because of it.
Sandee was honored at the 2014 MS Gala for the Rocky Mountain MS Center, and she and her sons Christopher and Jonathan were on hand to thank supporters and give kudos to Dr. Timothy Vollmer, medical director, whom Sandee credits with making an incredible difference in her life and countless others.
Co-Chairs Terri Fisher and Gayle Novak thanked everyone for attending, and CEO Gina Berg was equally thankful for the efforts of guests, volunteers, staff and supporters. Board Chair Paul Wisor also gave a speech about how he got involved and how honored he is to be a part of the effort.
Guests enjoyed a scrumptious dinner, live auction by auctioneer Jim Berz and danced the rest of the night away to the Tripping Griswolds.
It is encouraging that there are some cutting edge treatments and therapies for those with MS, so that hopefully we can say we understand and can beat the condition.
The mission of the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center is to improve the quality of life of individuals and their families living with MS and related neurological diseases through care, support, education and research. They are a Colorado-based nonprofit dedicated to changing the way we think about and treat MS in order to protect the futures of those living with the disease.
Colorado and Wyoming have some of the highest incidence of MS in the nation. Why is still a mystery. Perhaps it has something to do with the mile high altitude, the mountain streams, the lack of humidity. Nevertheless, the answer lies somewhere in the Rocky Mountains and the fact remains, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the central nervous system by disrupting the flow of information from the brain to the body. There is no known cause and no known cure.
Those are dire facts above for those living with MS and for anyone who suspects they may have the disease. The good news is there is help. The Colorado-Wyoming Chapter helps over 100,000 people affected by MS move forward with their lives each year. The funds raised support the Society’s cutting-edge research and provide comprehensive programs and services for people living with MS.
Tuesday’s luncheon featured the presentation of the MS Spirit Award to Marc Spritzer, a tireless volunteer who became involved in the MS society when his wife was diagnosed with MS. Marc is a true advocate for people living with multiple sclerosis.
The keynote speaker, Ronda Giangreco, lives with MS. Her story began in 2008 as a healthy vibrant woman one day; the next day she awakened to numbness on her left side. The next day, more numbness. The diagnosis was multiple sclerosis. One thought kept going through her mind, “If I might not be walking for long…where should I walk now?”
Giangreco mapped her bleak future in the only way she knew how – spend it with friends over pasta, bread and wine. After 52 dinners in a row, 400 plates of food made from scratch, she was stunned to realize she had created an amazing army of friends. “Every week that I made another pot of spaghetti I was winning,” she said. Those dinner came to be known as The Gathering Table. Her recently published book, “The Gathering Table: Defying MS with a Year of Pasta, Wine & Friends,” gave Giangreco an abundance of material for an uplifting and energetic presentation. She spoke without a podium and enchanted the audience with her fantastically confident and engaging story. Everyone in the audience was awestruck and certainly influenced by her courageous journey. She ended her wonderful talk by addressing all who suffer from MS, “It’s the journey that counts.”
Chances are you know someone living with this disease. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is there to help them. MS stops people from moving. The MS society exists to make sure it doesn’t.
To learn more about the MS Society or to make a contribution please go to the website: cureMSco-wy.org or 800-FIGHT MS (800-344-4867)
We mobilize people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS.
900 South Broadway, Suite 250 Denver CO 80209-Phone: 303-698-5430