The National Multiple Sclerosis Society announced that it has received the largest gift ever given the organization by an individual — a $3 million, multiyear donation to establish and fund the Edward M. Dowd Personal Advocate Program, which aims to improve and expand personalized case management and care for people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
With a goal of increasing patients’ independence and quality of life, the advocate program will be used by the society to aid people in the United States whose health and safety are compromised by limited knowledge, understanding, or an ability to access much-needed programs and benefits.
“This life-changing gift will accelerate the collective and individual ability of people affected by MS to live their best lives — connected, solution-focused, and resilient,” Cyndi Zagieboylo, the MS Society’s president and chief executive officer (CEO), said in a press release. “People affected by MS have a supportive partner in the Society to access the information and resources they need to make life choices and to find sustainable, life changing solutions.”
Edward M. Dowd, a financier and a philanthropist living with MS since 1993, credits his disease with giving him a new perspective on life and his success as a businessman, and with cultivating his love for art and his passion for philanthropy and causes that he thinks of importance.
“I realize the value of services for people with limitations. I have help navigating life with MS, but I often wonder how people without sufficient resources manage even the day to day tasks,” Dowd said. “My overall focus is to help improve the quality of life for people with MS who do not have the financial means to get the support they need. Specifically, my goal is to assist the 15 percent of people with MS who face the greatest challenges.”
He said he means for this gift to be truly transformative: to considerably expand the National MS Society’s network of trained and specialized professionals, so as to provide a high level of support for those with this disease.
Among the expanded services will be assisting patients with challenges related to disease progression, to unemployment or underemployment, issues with family and caregivers, needs for adequate housing or for home care, medical equipment, insurance, or other vital services.
People who may benefit from the Edward M. Dowd Personal Advocate Program will be identified through connection with an MS Navigator, either by calling 1-800-344-4867 or by sending an email to ContactUsNMSS@nmss.org.