My first two months at MS Australia have flown by. But they have been enriched by moving and enlightening meetings with people living with MS, with the passionate and world-class research community, with our highly motivated donors, with enthusiastic carers and volunteers, with our hard-working Board members, with our outstanding state MS organisations, and with our deeply committed and first-class staff.
The MS community – I have quickly learned – is a community on the move. Along with the Board and staff, a key focus of work for me will be to lead the consolidation of MS Research Australia and MS Australia together to create a single organisation dedicated to research and advocacy. This integration will help improve the lives of people living with MS and in finding a cure.
In January, we announced our annual research grants, dedicating $2.9 million towards vital MS research projects around Australia. For the first time we were able to fund all fundable grant applications for 2021, thanks to the generous donations from the MS community. We are also approaching the Australian Government in a bid to ‘supercharge’ the research agenda building on our research roadmap and implementation plan as unveiled by the Prime Minister.
Our most important fundraising challenge, The May 50K, has just been launched and is off to a great start, with strong early interest and a trophy already in the cabinet after winning the Impact Through Events category at the Fundraising Institute of Australia 2021 Awards for Excellence in Fundraising. We are incredibly excited this year to have our state/territory organisations actively involved. With this new partnership we are looking to establish a sustainable and collaborative approach that will assist us in increasing our fundraising activities which, in turn, will result in greater returns that we can then plough into more research.
Our biennial Progress in MS Research Scientific Conference is also progressing, with plans underway for the event to be held in Hobart in November.
Thank you for your warm welcome. Hold on to your hats – we have a busy and productive year ahead.
CEO, MS Australia