Throughout fiscal year 2013, nearly 1,500 individuals volunteered their time with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Greater Illinois Chapter, by staffing major fundraising events including Walk MS and Bike MS, facilitating support groups and peer support programs, lending their professional talents to special projects and office work, chairing their own fundraisers, lobbying elected officials, and providing leadership as members of the Chapter’s Board of Trustees. On Saturday, October 19, the Greater Illinois Chapter honored the dedication and hard work of its volunteers, presenting 13 Outstanding Volunteers of the Year Awards at the 18th Annual Fannie & Charles Penikoff Research Symposium at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont.
“Our volunteers play an enormous role in the day-to-day operations of the Society, whether it’s out at an event, in the office, fundraising in the community, or offering supportive services to their peers,” said Greater Illinois Chapter President John Blazek. “Their dedication and commitment to our movement is essential in helping us to provide vital research, programs and services that assist the 20,000 individuals throughout the state living with MS.”
The 2013 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year recipients included Laine Sell, of Warrenville, who has volunteered with the Greater Illinois Chapter for more than 30 years. In this time, she has helped out with youth camps, the MS aquatics program, MS Family Days, MS Action Day, and many other events. As a registration table volunteer, she is always the first to arrive and the last to leave. Sell received the Volunteer of the Year Award.
Attended by nearly 500 individuals from across the state, Research Symposium covered the latest news and trends in MS research. In addition to the volunteer awards, this premiere, all-day event including a keynote presentation by Dr. Steven Goldman, PhD, MD, of the University of Rochester Medical Center, an extensive health expo, and four educational breakout sessions.
The National MS Society addresses the challenges of each person affected by MS. To fulfill this mission, the Society funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, facilitates professional education, collaborates with MS organizations around the world, and provides programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move forward with their lives. The disease affects more than 20,000 people in Illinois and 2.1 million worldwide. For more information, visit MSIllinois.org.