National Multiple Sclerosis Society Expands in Multiple Markets
Thursday August 10, 6:31 am Eastern Time
DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 10, 2000--The National Multiple Sclerosis Society today announced that two Texas chapters, North Texas and Lone Star, have been re-organized to form one chapter powerhouse. The move will more than double the number of counties and clients served. The newly expanded chapter will be officially known as Lone Star Chapter. This move will consolidate client services in the 143 counties served by the Lone Star Chapter that reaches from Texarkana to Brownsville and Beaumont to Del Rio. It will also result in more efficient, effective and productive effort to end the devastating effects of MS.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, often devastating disease of the central nervous system. The symptoms include blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the limbs and can become as severe as paralysis or total loss of vision. Diagnosis usually occurs between 20 and 40, but the unpredictable physical and emotional effects are life long. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to ending the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis. Not only is it the largest private funder of MS research, the society spends a greater percentage of dollars on direct services than any other health organization primarily serving adults.
The Trustees of both the North Texas and Lone Star Chapters unanimously agreed on the re-organization of the two chapters. "We as the North Texas Chapter were very excited when the opportunity arose to combine our resources with those of the Lone Star Chapter," Andrew Jackson, chair of the North Texas Chapter, said. "We can maximize efficiencies across the board. Bottom line is to provide the best services we can to our clients."
The Lone Star Chapter is now one of the top three MS chapters in the nation and the largest in geographic size. Headquarters will be in Houston with regional offices in Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and Corpus Christi. The Chapter will provide direct service to the more than 11,600 individuals with MS, plus family members and loved ones affected by MS.
Pat Bertotti, president of the Lone Star Chapter, calls the expansion quite significant. "We have worked out a smooth transition and have spent considerable time and effort in anticipating the needs of the clients in the Dallas area," Bertotti said. "This is about creating a chapter with first-class services and fund-raising efforts that match the level of national's expectations. As we move forward with the Lone Star Chapter, clients can look for a uniform level of client services and programs chapter wide. Whether you walk in the door of the office in Austin, Beaumont, Tyler, Dallas or San Antonio, you will find the same high standards that are mandated by our charter." Bertotti continued, "That goes for our special events arm as well.
"By establishing a branded image for all MS activities, we can strengthen the reach and appeal of special events held across the state. For instance, our largest special event, The Isuzu MS 150 Bike Tour from Houston to Austin, has grown to become the largest MS 150 in the nation. The 2000 ride attracted 7,500 riders who raised more than $3 million for research and direct services to individuals living with MS. We will grow the MS 150 Red River Challenge in the same direction."
Bertotti concluded, "Just like any major corporation that goes through an expansion, we are working to unify the entire chapter and give it a strong point of view -- from delivering the mission to taking care of our clients to organizing special events. The chapter must have one standard that is evidenced chapter wide."
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society was founded in 1946 and has invested more than $284 million in research. It is the world's largest private source of MS-related research funds and expends a greater percentage of monies for direct services than any other voluntary health organization primarily serving adults (20 years of age and older). The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has 135 chapters and branches nationwide.
The Lone Star Chapter, chartered in 1955, serves more than 11,600 individuals in 143 Texas counties who are affected by multiple sclerosis. Services include information and referrals, equipment loans, education programs, caring and wellness programs, emergency financial assistance, self-help groups, research updates and clinical and peer support programs. The chapter works closely with the medical community to enhance MS knowledge and treatment. While there is no cure yet, three FDA-approved medications can significantly reduce the number of acute attacks and delay the onset of permanent disabilities. All funds are privately raised and 83 cents of every dollar are used to benefit people affected by multiple sclerosis.
The office serving the north Texas area is located at 2105 Luna Road, Ste. 390, Carrollton, Texas 75006; Telephone: 214/373-1400, Fax: 214/373-7200
For information dial: 1-800/FIGHT-MS (1-800/344-4867)
The National MS Society...One thing on which people with MS can count
Stevens Group, Houston