MS Ambassador Stories
On This Page:
Cindy Bakala | Karen & Levi Barron | Brenda Dubilowski | Suzanne Deschamps |
Why are you an MS Ambassador?
I want to be a voice for MS. MS needs help to speak out! In sharing my “recipes for success” others can learn and add to or improve upon things I have discovered. Together we can make a real difference.
Overall, I am hoping to create awareness.
Areas of work as an Ambassador…
Client Services, public speaking and education
Other areas of involvement in the MS Society…
I am an active Board Member of the Calgary Chapter MS Society, a past member of the MS Walk Committee and a long time Bike Tour Committee member and volunteer. I have garnered support for the MS Society from my place of work and from my friends and acquaintances by encouraging them to volunteer or donate to the cause. I have run the Carnation Campaign at my work, which not only raised funds but helped raise awareness of this disease. I have also had the opportunity to be involved with many fund raising campaigns helping to promote the MS Society in turn looking for support to help the cause.
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What was MS?… Well I found out in the Spring of 2005 when my son Levi (who was 13 at the time) went through what I can only recall as a horrendous onslaught at the hands of this monster we call MS. He spent a total of 4 months in the ACH. In March 2005 he was a typical active teenager playing minor hockey, biking and hanging out with friends and by middle of April he was struggling to stand and walk. His legs were paralyzed. I was petrified. The first signs of anything wrong were associated with his right side. His right hand did not work. He tried and tried…but nothing. In what I have come to call true Levi fashion…all he would say to me was …it’s ok mom….don’t worry. I can write with my other hand”. Then a few days later, his left hand seized up...
Our journey with Multiple Sclerosis isn’t over. Since Levi was discharged in August 2005 from the ACH we have become very passionate about spreading awareness about MS. People need to know that there are children as young as 3 years old who have been diagnosed with this illness. The public needs to know that MS is a devastating disease that affects so many people in so many ways. Together we are a force to be reckoned with. We have things to do. We have an illness to shut down and send packing.
Read Karen and Levi's full story.
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Brenda Dubilowski was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis six years ago. Since then, she has developed a strong passion to find a cure and help those affected by MS. The challenge was figuring out exactly how to go about it. Brenda has figured out a way to help. As an Edmonton realtor, she is able to help individuals with MS find homes that can accommodate their unique needs. She has also taken on the challenge of advocating for barrier-free design to be incorporated into future building codes.
The objective of barrier-free design is to design and build homes, and in fact all buildings, in such a way that people with mobility challenges have no barriers to accessibility. In order to achieve this, Brenda has teamed up with the MS Society and has become an MS Ambassador. As an Ambassador, she will address this issue with homebuilders and anyone else who can play a role in implementing these changes. She has also made a commitment to donate a portion of her commissions to MS research.
For more information on Brenda and her mission, visit www.BrendaSells.net or contact her directly at: 780-641-1321, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Suzanne Deschamps - a volunteer, a fundraiser, an MS Ambassador and recently appointed Alberta & Northwest Territories Division Board Chair. She is truly passionate about the MS Society and the cause.
Suzanne’s involvement began in 1992, when she was diagnosed with MS. It was a difficult time in her life because she was diagnosed while her husband was in Tel-Aviv on a six-month military tour. “I was shocked…I didn’t have any idea of what MS was and didn’t want to know,” says Suzanne. However, since that day her attitude has definitely changed.
She has developed a philosophy about volunteering which is simply – JUST DO IT. “You will be amazed at not only the wonderful people you will meet, but also knowing that you will be a part of the cure for MS,” says Suzanne.
Since 1992, Suzanne has been a member-at-large on the Government & Community Relations committee, a fundraising committee chair, Secretary, Vice Chair and now Board Chair. She was also on the national committee for organizing the 50th anniversary of the MS Society of Canada in 1998, and has worked with the national Client Services committee on the Client Services survey.
At a local level, she has been the President of the Lakeland Chapter since 1994. Suzanne has also been the organizer/presenter for the Carnation Campaign and the Read-A-Thon in Cold Lake for over 12 years.
“Another event that I am passionate about is the RONA MS Bike Tour. I have ridden once in the RONA MS Bike Tour – MS 150 in 2002. I also participated in the RONA MS Bike Tour -Mountain in 03, 04, 05 & 07,” says Suzanne.
Her newest addition to her resume is becoming an official MS Ambassador. “It is a thrill to be involved in such a powerful program,” says Suzanne.
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Why are you a MS Ambassador?
I believe in giving back to the community at large. I have, in the past, been actively involved in my children's school and sports programs, community gruops and professional associations.
MS has touched our family - my sister contracted this disease several years ago. I believe that through the professional leadership of the MS Society, coupled with the enthusiasm of MS Ambassadors and the thousands of volunteer fundraisers in Alberta and elsewhere, we will provide the economic incentives necessary for medical researchers and paractitioners to unlock the mystery of MS and find the ultimate cure.
Areas of work as an Ambassador...
Communications, government relations and fund development.
Other areas of involvement in the MS Society...
My wife and I are also active volunteers with both the MS Walk in Edmonton and the RONA MS Bike Tour - Leduc to Camrose. I have been the Team Captain of Cyndie's Cyclists for the past several years. In 2007 I personally raised over $7,000 and my team raised over $26,000.
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For more information please contact:
Liz Chomyn, Volunteer Manager
Julie Kelndorfer, Director of Government & Community Relations