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Patient Advocate Award

The MSA Coalition Patient Advocate Award is rewarded annually at the Multiple System Atrophy Annual Patient and Family Conference starting in 2022. It recognizes a current MSA patient who champions the awareness, needs, and overall impact of multiple system atrophy.

Eligibility: A current MSA patient, has public identity to raise awareness about multiple system atrophy and the MSA Coalition, has provided significant service in furthering the public image of multiple system atrophy, has contributed time, talent, and service to the MSA Coalition.

Selection process: Candidates are chosen through an application process that is open from June 30th through July 28th. All candidates are thoroughly vetted through a task force. The winner will be notified by July of the current year.

Benefits: Plaque, MSA Coalition funded travel (if conference is in person), hotel accommodations, and incidentals for the MSA Annual Conference. If the person is unable to travel, they may send a representative to accept the award on their behalf.

How to apply, deadline: Submit applications using the button linked below by July 28th.

Patient Advocate Award


2022 – Austin Crawford

Austin Crawford, of Watseka, IL, has been named the 2022 recipient of The MSA Coalition’s Patient Advocate Award. He has dedicated many years advocating for The MSA Coalition and the MSA community.

He was initially diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, like many MSA patients, in 2012 and later rediagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy in 2017.

Before his diagnosis and early in his career, Austin spent many years volunteering as a Firefighter/EMT-I and an Auxiliary Police Officer. He also was an avid motorcycle rider, even making the 75th Anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in 2015 and appearing in Quick Throttle magazine.

His interest in motorcycles and cars sparked the theme of a recent documentary staring Crawford, Driven to Help (2022). He also is featured in a second documentary Fighting MSA Austin Crawford’s Story (2020). Both films have given MSA a boost in awareness and has provided comfort and resources to many patients in the community.

Austin has been a volunteer with the Multiple System Atrophy Coalition since 2018 serving on the General Advisory Council. His efforts in spreading awareness of MSA through award-winning documentaries, television appearances, social media presence, and more will be a long-lasting legacy that will continue to serve the Coalition and MSA patients and families for years to come.

Visit to learn more about Austin and his advocacy work.