I have been the treasurer of the MSA Coalition since I joined the board in 2013, and I am so impressed by and grateful for the financial support we receive from our MSA family – or as I think of it, our “village.” The books are not yet fully closed books for 2020, but at this point it is clear that we will once again exceed $1 million in contributions. We are all honored and grateful that so many of you raised funds for us by having birthday or year-end Facebook fundraisers, holding fundraising events through-out the year (even in the pandemic!), having your own Classy fundraising page, writing us a check or donating through our website. Your friends and family may have never heard of MSA before, but they give to us through your fundraising efforts because you ask, and they care about you. It takes a village, and we have a pretty big one.
One of my roles as treasurer is to answer questions about planned giving. I was contacted this summer via email by a patient who had some questions, and she shared, very matter-of-factly, that her illness was progressing, and she was putting her affairs in order as she thought the end was near. She told me she didn’t have much family and wanted to make a bequest to the MSA Coalition in her will. I always receive this news with a mixture of gratitude and sadness. I am always thankful that the MSA Coalition is remembered in this way, but so sad that yet another patient will be taken by this illness. I am also moved by the selflessness of patients like this one who make gifts that will help other members of the MSA village down the road. I provided her with the information she needed (click here for the planned giving information on our website) and also reminded her that we are always available to help by phone, email or in one or our Facebook groups.
In December, we were contacted by a close friend of this patient who let us know that she passed away in August, not long after she contacted me. She remembered the MSA Coalition and by extension, the MSA village, generously in her will. Perhaps more importantly, her friend, who accompanied her to medical appointments and was present in her life in the last few years of her illness, told us that this lovely and generous woman was grateful for the MSA Coalition and considered the people she met through the MSA Coalition to be family. Building a unified MSA community is one of the four pillars our organization is built on, and I cannot think of a higher compliment – to the MSA Coalition and the patients, care partners, medical professionals and others who are part of our MSA Village.
By the way, if you missed my presentation at our conferences this year called “It Takes a Village” you can find it here.
Carol B. Langer, Treasurer, MSA Coalition Board of Directors