Volunteering is the ultimate expression of human connection –
people acting selflessly on behalf of their communities driven by
a desire to contribute to the greater good and help others.
Every day, volunteers share their skills and talents with the MS Society in all kinds of ways. It is volunteers that provide peer support, lobby the government for policy-change, enable camp programs for children affected by MS, provide research support, set direction and strategy for our programs and major events, bring their enthusiasm to fundraising efforts and make the success of the organization possible. Volunteers are the backbone of what we do and are actively engaged in shaping the future of MS.
Our National Award Program aims to recognize the impact, innovation and excellence of our most dedicated volunteers.
The 2017 recipients of the National Awards of Achievement are:
National Award of Merit, Member
Ahmed Nassrat from Halifax, Nova Scotia
The National Award of Merit, Member recognizes outstanding contributions by a member of the MS Society of Canada whose volunteer activities have had an impact on a national or nationwide basis.
The MS Society relies on the dedication, commitment and passion of event participants to raise funds required to provide critical programs and services to those affected by MS as well as contribute towards important research aimed at finding the cause and cure. Ahmed Nassrat possesses all of the most valuable qualities of an outstanding fundraiser and advocate for the MS cause.
Ahmed joined the fight to end MS in 2006 when he got involved with the MS Walk. Although Ahmed’s business connection to the MS Society was through the MS Walk, he became personally interested in the Society’s other key event, MS Bike. Ahmed participated in the Windsor to Wolfville MS Bike Tour in 2008 and his involvement has grown steadily to provide both sponsorship funds as well as team leadership and fundraising support.
On top of leading one of the Atlantic Division’s most successful
MS Bike teams, Ahmed wanted to do more in the fight to end MS. In
2016 Ahmed embarked on a very challenging, inspirational and
international ride. Beginning along the Atlantic coast of France
in early October, Ahmed cycled a total of 3,100 kilometers
through seven countries, finishing his journey in Belgrade,
Serbia. He surpassed his fundraising goal and was also able to
garner international attention towards the MS Society of Canada’s
It’s inspiring to see how much time he has so generously put in to raising awareness of MS and raising funds towards finding a cause and cure. Ahmed serves as a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit and what it is capable of.
National Opal Award for Caregivers
Bev Anderson from Calgary, Alberta
The Opal Award for Caregivers recognizes the contributions of those who are or have been caregivers to people with MS.
Bev is truly an inspiring individual. Bev’s life has been
dedicated not only to being a caregiver for her two children
living with MS, but also advocating on behalf of all Canadians
affected by MS.
On a daily basis Bev does everything possible to advocate for her two children living with progressive MS. Whether she is pressing hospital staff to deliver the best care possible for her children or working with the MS Society to enhance programs offered for individuals affected by MS (such as the Friendly Visitor Volunteer program), her support and determination is paving a path for positive change for those affected by MS.
Her lifelong contributions and unseen struggles reflect the power love has to inspire people to conquer the curveballs life throws our way. It’s wonderful to know that there are people who are putting in the hard work required to deal with the challenges presented by MS.
National Nancy R Perkins Award
Rose Brassard, Lloydminster, SK
The Nancy R. Perkins Award honours the memory of Nancy R.
Perkins, a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer who served on the
national board of directors as honourary secretary as well as
chair of the national public education committee from 1978 to
1982. It recognizes lifetime achievement for an individual who
has left active volunteer service to the MS Society.
Brassard’s contributions to the MS Society exemplifies all the
qualities that the Nancy R Perkins Award is founded upon:
unwavering commitment and dedication to providing support to
those affected by MS. With over 38 years of involvement with the
MS Society, Rose continues to leave a lasting impact. Her
contributions serve as an important reminder of the impact that
one individual can have in the lives of many.
Rose first got involved with the MS Society in the late 1970s. After experiencing a loved one confront a new diagnosis of MS, Rose and her husband, Roland, identified the need for support for those affected by MS in the Lloydminster area. Rose and Roland were instrumental in building the foundation for the Lloydminster Chapter – recruiting other leadership volunteers, establishing a presence in the community, leading key fundraising initiatives, ensuring that those affected by MS were connected to each other, etc.
Rose exemplifies what it means to ‘give back’ to ones community and the MS Society’s presence in the Lloydminster area has grown tremendously enabling individuals affected by MS to find the support they need as the navigate their MS journey.
National Award of Merit, Non-Member
Carl Sketchley from Surrey, British Columbia
The National Award of Merit, Non-Member recognizes outstanding contributions by a non-member of the MS Society of Canada whose volunteer activities have had an impact on a national or nationwide basis.
A proud Maritimer who grew up on one of the many beautiful coasts of Nova Scotia, I have Bachelor in Kinesiology from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Human Kinetics from the University of Windsor. When I’m not chasing my two little boys around the wonderful beaches of NS, I’m cheering hard for Canada’s Toronto Raptors.
Carl Sketchley’s commitment to the cause is an example of what the MS Society was founded on, and his dedication is why he is deserving of this award.
It’s inspiring to see how much time he has so generously put in to improving the lives of Canadians affected by MS. His brilliant communications skills and his clever use of media demonstrate Carl’s ability to be a leader behind the scenes.
For many people who have lost someone to MS, Carl serves as a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit and what it is capable of.