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Evening of hope. Celebration of spirit.

A network of health care centers helping people with MS live better with the disease.

Patty Jordan & Family

Spirit Award winner Patty Jordan with
husband Bret and daughter

A mom with MS who scuba dives, skis and rides a Harley. A young woman getting a head start on her future thanks to a National MS Society scholarship. A physician heralding a bold new step in MS research.

All were among the compelling award winners and speakers who inspired guests at the Chapter’s annual Dinner of Champions to raise approximately $700,000 at the May event, including almost $275,000 for research, scholarships, and prescription assistance.

First Choice Health, a leader in health benefit administration and provider network solutions for the Northwest, received the prestigious Hope Award. CEO Ken Hamm accepted the award in honor of three of First Choice’s owner hospitals with cutting edge MS Centers - Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Evergreen Healthcare in Kirkland and MultiCare Health System in Tacoma.

“Each of these outstanding hospitals are making an enormous, life-changing impact on people with MS in our community and their collaboration with the National MS Society helps make that possible,” Ken said.

Spirit Award recipient Patty Jordan clearly exhibited the positive approach to life with MS that earned her that award. “Since my diagnosis, I have grown to realize that my MS is not mostly suffering and devastation but mostly living. And, wow, am I living!” the active mother of two said. “I have also learned that life is unpredictable, so I must live each day with wonder and joy and purpose.”

The focus of the fundraising effort at the Dinner was twofold: research and scholarships.

Hope Award winners

Hope Award recipients (left to right):
Dr. Rodney Hochman, Swedish
Dr. John Huddlestone, MultiCare
Lucy DeYoung, Evergreen
Ken Hamm, First Choice

Seattle neuro-ophthalmologist Dr. Eugene May set the stage for encouraging research donations by generating excitement about the National MS Society’s new Fast Forward initiative. He described the program as combining “medical know-how with business savvy” to help bring promising new MS treatments to market more quickly.

Jennifer O’Donnell, representing the O’Donnell Family Foundation which established the Chapter’s scholarship program, paved the way for those contributions.

“The scholarship program was born out of a simple recognition: of all the things MS can take away, it shouldn’t take away the choices of children in families managing the disease,” she said. “As a family affected by MS - my dad was diagnosed in 1983 - and as a family committed to education for all, offering scholarships was an obvious step for us to curb the effect of the disease.”

Alexis Daly, the recipient of Chapter scholarships, told the gathering: “It is hard to be the child of a parent with MS. But I am so grateful to my mother for her wonderful example and to the National MS Society for helping me take such giant steps toward my future. You are all changing the world for those of us dealing with MS. On behalf of other scholarship winners and people like my mother and our family, thank you for caring.”

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