msf_staff: (Kasey)
Well, if I thought the end of Awareness Month was going to mean a break for the communications department, I was wrong! (Of course, why should we be special? Everyone else around here is preparing for the Consortium of MS Centers' and American Academy of Neurologists' annual meetings.) We have so much going on!

We're working on the curriculum for our Ambassador program. That's coming together nicely, and I look forward to doing the teaching, and to helping each of our Ambassadors to select their advocacy goals. As I may have mentioned, this initiative is a pilot program for us - if it works out well, imagine what could be accomplished in communities across the country!

Also, we're working on increasing and improving our Alternative Media program, which provides our written materials in audio or video format. That's a larger job than it sounds like, since all of the reading and editing is done by our staff, who take time away from their regular duties to do it.

Our entire website is being re-designed, with improved organization and navigation. Our goal is to be the most comprehensive resource for MS information, for all types and stages of MS, available on the Internet. Plus, we're adding some helpful interactive features too.

Another thing I'm really excited about is the event we're planning for World MS Day, May 27, 2009. We'll be hosting an MS Town Hall, via teleconference. Anyone concerned with MS - friends, family members, caregivers, healthcare workers, legislators, social workers - is invited to join in, and let us know what's on their minds. What's needed in the MS community?

There are also some new booklets in the works, we're planning the curriculum for the 2010 Cruise for a Cause, and we're reviewing and updating all of our fact sheets. All of this while continuing to publish our usual periodicals.

And to top it all off, we're in a 'changing of the guard' situation. As we speak, Anne Marie is training her replacement - a lovely woman named Gay, with a proven record of producing clear and accurate information for the public. We're so sorry to see Anne Marie move on, but trust that Gay will do an excellent job and the MSF will maintain its high standard of accuracy and relevance. As an added benefit, our part-time staffer, Nicole has now been devoted full-time to the communications department. I'm hoping that I can convince both Gay and Nicole to participate in this blog with me, so we can really keep it up-to-date with what's going on in MS and MSF news.

Whew! A lot, right?
msf_staff: (Kasey)
Look!

100_3825

There's our man Derrick in the awesome new MSF t-shirt, with Conan O'Brien! The bad part? He didn't get to actually wear the shirt live on the show. (You have to give him credit for trying, though, right?)

Check out Derrick's comment to my last post for more photos.
msf_staff: (Kasey)
If you've been on the MSF Cruise for a Cause before, or been to one of our educational programs, there's a good chance you've met Derrick Lee, supervisor of our Program Services department and all-around great guy. If you're lucky, you've gone to karaoke night on the Cruise and gotten to hear that man sing!

Well, here is an interesting fact about our Derrick: he leads a double life. He may be a mild-mannered, helpful MSF employee during the work week, but on the weekends? He's bringing the house down as a member of the Lee Boys.

You may not have heard of the Lee Boys yet, but you will. Their stock is rising; just consider this little snippet of the band's bio to see what I mean:

In 2007 alone they performed for more than 250,000 music fans at festivals throughout the United States. In the process, their unique sound has attracted musical artists such as Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers Band, The Black Crowes, Los Lobos, Michelle Shocked, Gov't Mule, Derek Trucks Band w/ Susan Tedechi, The North Mississippi Allstars, Umphrey's McGee, and Victor Wooten - all of whom have played with the Lee Boys and/or invited them to tour with them.

And this year? They were invited to play all the biggest festivals in the country - the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Bonnaroo, and Austin City Limits, to name just a few.

Now, though, the national exposure is starting, with the Lee Boys set to appear on Late Night with Conan O'Brien next week! (Can you tell I'm a little proud?)

The really cool part, and what makes this not just cool but also relevant, is that Derrick really wanted to use the opportunity to raise the awareness of MS. Aside from family and music, the MSF is clearly one of the things he's most passionate about. So we brainstormed, and together we came up with a (*cough*) subtle way of directing people to a message about MS. Derrick is going to be wearing a new t-shirt we designed just for the occasion (which I'm thinking we will probably make available in the MSF Store when the show airs) and it's kind of... bold. I'm really tickled with it, but you will have to tune in to see it and let me know how it came across.

So mark your calendars: Monday, December 8, 2008, at 12:35 p.m. Eastern, watch the Lee Boys on Late Night with Conan O'Brien! Spread the word!

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