Join us in saying farewell to our Vice Chair of The MSA Coalition Board of Directors, Don Crouse. His tenure on our board is coming to a close at the end of this year, and we want to reflect on all he has done for our organization and the MSA community.
Don joined The MSA Coalition (formerly known as The Shy-Drager MSA Support Group) in 1999 and is one of our originating board members. Don became connected to multiple system atrophy as a result of his marketing career in the pharmaceutical industry, where he worked on two products commonly prescribed to patients with MSA. Because there was a largely unmet need for MSA awareness, education, and research, Don decided to volunteer his time and business knowledge to The MSA Coalition.
In over 20 years of volunteerism, Don has played an invaluable leadership role in building The MSA Coalition into a world-class charitable organization. It was his vision to expand the organization from a support group to an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit that funds research, develops educational programming, organizes support groups, and advocates for MSA patients.
Don has served as right-hand man to a succession of board chairs starting with Don Summers in the 1990s. His support to the board and its initiatives has made The MSA Coalition the successful resource to the MSA community that it is today.
During our Annual Patient & Family Conferences, you were most likely to see Don in the background checking on the details with videographers and photographers so that the best moments were captured. Don greatly enjoyed his interactions with MSA patients and families building lifelong connections with wonderful members of our community. Don also enjoyed travelling to professional meetings where MSA research and clinical care were highlighted. Each year he presented The MSA Coalition-sponsored “Don Summers Memorial Travel Award” to a deserving, young researcher at the American Autonomic Society Congress.
In 2018, as a representative of The MSA Coalition, Don was invited to serve on the External Advisory Committee as a patient advocate for the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network (RDCRN) Autonomic Disorders Consortium’s U54 grant. Don helped to ensure alignment between the Consortium and MSA advocacy initiatives.
Don lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife Geri, who has also been a dedicated volunteer for The MSA Coalition, along with their two daughters.
“For over twenty years, Don has been a quiet and steady force behind the progression of The MSA Coalition. With his vision, strategic thinking, leadership and dedication, The MSA Coalition transitioned from a grassroots support group to the multi-faceted organization it is today. Don, along with his wife, Geri, who volunteered her time to support operations for nearly as long as Don served on the board, contributed greatly to the sustainability and growth of The MSA Coalition. Heartfelt thanks to them both. I am sad that Don is retiring from his position as Vice Chair on the board and, at the same time, happy for him as he pursues the next chapter of his life with his family. I will miss working closely with him but look forward to his role as an advisory emeritus member of the board. I wish him all the best.” — Cyndi Roemer, Chair of The MSA Coalition
“Few people know that Don has been a keen strategist on the board for over 20 years, propelling the organization to new levels on multiple occasions. Most notably he was responsible for introducing and promoting The MSA Coalition’s research grant program in 2012 which has gone on to become a great success. I once asked Don why he had never sought the role of chair to which he replied that he strongly felt the role of chair should be filled by someone with a family connection to the disease. To that I say…Don, family are also the people you choose and who choose you! We thank you for your many years of dedicated service to your MSA family!” — Pam Bower, Secretary of The MSA Coalition
“Don has been an integral part of The MSA Coalition for well over half of its existence. He created the first business plan as well as our websites. He led the way in developing the MSA Coalition’s Research Grant Program. We would not be where we are today if not for his vision, leadership, and guidance, and we will be forever indebted to him for the hours and hours of volunteer time he has given to this organization. And it has been a family affair; Don’s wife, Geri Crouse, served for many years as the volunteer bookkeeper, donation processor, check writer and all-around “go to” person for day-to-day questions. Many, many thanks to the Crouse team for keeping the organization on track for so long.” — Carol Langer, Treasurer of The MSA Coalition
Our organization owes Don and Geri a huge debt of gratitude that we will continue to pay by dedicating our work to bettering the lives of MSA patients and their families and building hope for the future. Don, we cannot express our thanks to you enough for all you have done. We wish you all the best in this next phase of your life.
Donate With A Check via the Mail:
The MSA Coalition
7918 Jones Branch Drive, Suite 300
McLean, VA 22102
A Brief Message from Don Crouse
“As I reflect back on my 24 years of service to the Multiple System Atrophy community, I can’t help remembering all of the incredible people that I have met. From all of the board members who dedicate so much of themselves to the cause, doctors and researchers who fight this disease with amazing passion, and most importantly the patients and care partners who demonstrate incredible positivity, fortitude and love in the face of adversity, I have learned so much about moving through life as a positive contributor. In the early days of the Shy-Drager MSA Support Group, we strived to be a beacon of hope for those affected by MSA. Today, we truly are that beacon, and it reaches around the world. It could not have happened without an amazing team of volunteer and board members.
I would like to remember Don Summers and give special thanks to Sylvia Summers, Dr. David Robertson, Dr. Tom Chelimsky, Vera James, Judy Biedenharn, Cyndi Roemer, Carol Langer and Pam Bower. Without these and other fantastic volunteers The MSA Coalition would not be what it is today. Lastly, to my most important team member and wife, Geri Crouse, I am truly grateful. For years, she logged more volunteer hours than any board member as she managed our books and wrote thousands upon thousands of donation acknowledgement letters. While it is a farewell to the board, I will forever be dedicated to building hope for those affected by MSA and will remain a proud supporter of The Multiple System Atrophy Coalition.”