DEFEAT MULTIPLE SYSTEM ATROPHY AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND, Ltd., a newly formed nonprofit, the first of its kind in Australia and New Zealand has forged a partnership with Defeat MSA Alliance. Already a global leader in the fight against Multiple System Atrophy, the Alliance now adds a fifth nonprofit to its family of patient advocacy organizations.
Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) is a rare, rapidly progressing neurodegenerative disorder that impairs the systems that regulate blood pressure, heart rate and the bladder – many of the basic bodily functions that the average person takes for granted every day. At present, there is no cure for MSA, no genetic tests to detect it, no known therapy to slow it and very few treatments to manage its debilitating effects.
Headquartered in Melbourne, “Defeat MSA Down Under,” as the nonprofit is commonly called, joins a coalition of four other organizations: Defeat MSA Alliance (USA), Defeat MSA Awareness Shoe (USA) and Defeat Multiple System Atrophy Canada/Vaincre l’Atrophie Multisystématisée (Canada) and Combattiamo L’Atrofia Multisistemica which is based in Italy.
Staffed by volunteers, who are directly connected to the disease, the new charity’s Board includes three directors from Australia: Olivia Romano (Melbourne, VIC), Cherie Miller (Moranbah, QLD), Joshua Calvert (Port Kembla, NSW) and two directors from New Zealand: Stephen Donald (Gisborne, NZ) and Wikiwira Pokiha (Hamilton, NZ). Philip Fortier, the current director of the US and Canadian associated charities will also serve as the interim director of Defeat MSA Down Under.
Like its sister charities, Defeat MSA Down Under has committed to achieving four goals: to fund promising research, to educate medical professionals, to support patients and their families, and to raise public awareness throughout Oceania, an area that includes Australia, New Zealand and thousands of other smaller islands in the Pacific Ocean.
“With the combined power of the first MSA charity down under, we are now able to forge new partnerships, to better advocate for patients and their families, not only with other charities in Australia and New Zealand, but also with more businesses and the multiple governments,” said Philip Fortier. Dr. Pratik Bhattacharya, a neurologist and member of the Alliance’s global research committee, added: “that now the Alliance can pinpoint the same research studies from multiple sources. With a greater influx of funding, comes a more robust and energized research strategy.”
Already the board of the new charity has committed to co-sponsoring vital MSA research with other MSA charities and in particular, initiating a new path forward – helping to fund research with the MSA Trust in the UK.
The MSA Trust’s Chief Executive Officer, Karen Walker welcomed the new charity, “The MSA Trust looks forward to working with Defeat MSA Down Under, as we strive to support people living with multiple system atrophy and fund innovative research worldwide. “
Photo Left: Philip Fortier, Executive Director, Defeat MSA Alliance with Karen Walker, Chief Executive Officer, MSA Trust UK at the Sixth International MSA Research Congress in NYC, March 2018.
For more information about Defeat MSA Down Under or to donate to help, visit: www.MSAdownunder.org.au
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