In 1945, Sylvia Lawry was told that her brother, Bernard, had eveloped MS. Determined to do something for Bernard,
Sylvia placed an ad in The New
York Times: “Multiple sclerosis.
Will anyone recovered from
it please communicate with
patient.” With those 11 words—
and the passion behind them—
an activist was born.
Sylvia built on the powerful
connections she began to make
with others. She founded
the National MS Society the
next year and, in 1967, she
launched the Multiple Sclerosis
cultural shifts that had begun
with her resolve to change her
brother’s life for the better.
Sylvia’s activism set the stage
for all of us to follow. I think
of Mickey Bassman, who one
afternoon in 2003, watched
her husband Chuck struggle
to get up the stairs over the
dunes at their favorite beach
in New Jersey. Mickey knew
it didn’t have to be this hard.
She encouraged Chuck to write
a two-sentence petition for
accessible beach access; together
they circulated it throughout the
neighborhood and wrote letters
to local papers, not letting up
until several beach entrances
in the area had been made
accessible to all.
All over the country, the
All of us in the MS Movement are connected by
the passion to create meaningful change in the lives
of people affected by MS. We are activists.
passion of the MS Movement
moves others and changes
lives. In Texas, Kim and Gary
Campbell were outraged by the
situation of family caregivers in
the state, who work tirelessly
without pay and often on top
of other full-time work. They
resolved to visit the capital of
Austin, where they shared their
own story with state lawmakers.
That powerful act of connection
resulted in special funding for
Texas families caring for a loved
one at home.
Last March, a man in
Connecticut and a woman in
Washington, D.C., decided they
could no longer be silent about
how long it took for the Social
Security Administration to
review Social Security Disability
Insurance applications. Believing
something had to be done now
to change the situation, Dr. John
Booss and Yvonne Brown met
up in D.C., where they testified
before the U.S. Social Security
Administration. Thanks to their
resolve, many people who have
lost their jobs due to MS will
now receive their SSDI benefits
much sooner than before.
And this March, hundreds of
people affected by MS will rally
at our nation’s Capitol, meeting
with political leaders to be sure
the voices of the MS movement
are heard and that we drive
necessary change to improve lives.
It connects all of us who want
to do something NOW about
MS. Whether it’s pushing for
change in our communities, our
states or in Washington, D.C.,
we must all be MS activists.
advocacy to get engaged.)
keeps the movement going. It
leads us to engage and move
others—and ultimately, to
change the world.
President & CEO
National MS Society
733 Third Avenue, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10017