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Antonio Sabato Jr. Adds Muscle to MS Movement Actor and model Antonio Sabato Jr. helped pump up MS awareness during a recent visit to Tulsa, Okla.

iNutrition. Because he has a friend with MS, Antonio expressed an interest in getting involved with the National MS Society’s mission.

An avid fitness enthusiast, the star of TV shows such as “General Hospital” and “The Bold and the Beautiful” came to Tulsa in October to open his first weight loss center and fitness gym called

To show his support, he and Brandi Moore, the Society’s South Central Regional Communications and PR Manager, appeared on Tulsa’s Channel 8 “Good Day Tulsa” program. Continued page 3

Antonio with Mason and Aimie

33rd Close/MS Regatta Raises $54,000 PAGE 4

Welcome New Staff Member PAGE 5

Volunteers Share Holiday Spirit PAGE 8

Volunteer Highlight: Gayla Groom PAGE 8

MSCONNECTION is published by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Oklahoma, Building 7, Suite 103, 4606 E. 67th St., Tulsa, OK 74136-4950. Tulsa Office 918-488-0882 Outside Tulsa 800-344-4867 Oklahoma City Office 405-488-1300 Tulsa Fax 918-488-0913 Oklahoma E-mail staff’s first name.last Website Vice President of Development • Ray Mack Communications Manager • Brandi Davidson Moore Strategic Philanthropy Director • Lucy Fraser Development Manager • Cristy Racy Development Coordinator • Rachel Klenda Development Coordinator • Shannon Blackwell Dir. of Programs & Services • Sharleen Dupee Programs & Services Managers • Lisa Rutledge, Jennifer Philp Volunteer & YAMS Coordinator • Stacy Smith Programs & Services Coordinator • Donna Bolain Finance Manager • Denise Allen Data Mgmt Coordinator • Lisa Gray Newsletter Editor • Brandi Davidson Moore Newsletter Proofreader • Lisa Gray Information provided by the Society is based upon professional advice, published experience and expert opinion. Information provided in response to questions does not constitute therapeutic recommendations or prescriptions. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society recommends that all questions and information be discussed with a personal physician. The Society does not endorse products, services or manufacturers. Such names appear here solely because they are considered valuable information. The Society assumes no liability for the use or contents of any product or service mentioned. ©2012 National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Oklahoma

Vice President’s Impressions Dear Members, Welcome to a new and fantastic year. Walk MS Oklahoma events are almost upon us. Please join us this spring at any of the following Walk MS events: Lawton, Northwest Oklahoma, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. We are going to have a brand new figure eight Bike MS Oklahoma ride on September 21 and 22. Please be on the lookout for details of this new route and the multiple distance options the new route is going to bring. All of these events help with the National MS Society’s NOW Campaign, No Opportunity Wasted. By 2016 the Society plans on investing over $50 million annually to MS specific research. The NOW Campaign will focus on the three areas of our comprehensive research strategy – to stop MS in its tracks, restore what’s been lost and end the disease forever. Sincerely,

Ray Mack

Offices Closed for Upcoming Holidays National MS Society offices will be closed on the following days: • Christmas: Friday, Dec. 21 (half-day closure); Monday, Dec. 24; and Tuesday, Dec. 25 • New Year: Monday, Dec. 31; Tuesday, Jan. 1


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Antonio and Brandi discussed multiple sclerosis, the Society and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in managing MS symptoms.

Brandi Moore & Antonio on “Good Day Tulsa�


Later, Antonio met with Aimie Dwyer and Mason Hoffman, two young Oklahomans who shared their experiences about living with the daily challenges of multiple sclerosis.

Mason & Antonio discussed the importance of exercise in countering the effects of multiple sclerosis.

Photos by Brandi Moore

TOLL FREE NUMBER 1 800 344 4867

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33rd Close/MS Regatta Raises $54,000

The Close/MS Regatta set sail on Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Windycrest Sailing Club on Lake Keystone marking its 33rd year of fundraising for the National MS Society: Oklahoma. The weather was perfect for a day of fundraising on the lake! “33 RPMS: Race to Pursue an MS Cure� was the theme for 2012. The Close/MS Regatta Launch Party was held a month prior on Thursday, Aug. 16 at the Home Builders Association of Tulsa. It was a wonderful evening full of unique auction items, including a quilt complete with every Close/MS Regatta t-shirt ever made created by Barbara Grossman and Betty Hobson. The events raised over $54, 000 for those living with MS. Thank you to all event donors who helped make this event a success!

Barbara Grossman and Betty Hobson created this quilt made of past Regatta event t-shirts.

Event supporters and volunteers, Lynn & Shari Goodwin.

Special thanks to Chairman Mark Lobo, members of the Windycrest Sailing Club and the terrific event committee members!

It Was a Perfect Weekend for Flying at the Dust Bowl Fly In! The Oklahoma Dust Bowl Fly In for MS Research, a Do-It-Yourself fundraiser benefitting the National MS Society, took place at the airport in Holdenville, Okla. on Sept. 22 & 23, 2012. A total of 21 pilots participated in the event and several hundred spectators came out to see the show. The event raised over $1,300. Thank you to Westly Arnett for planning and organizing this creative and fun event. 4 I JOIN THE MOVEMENT:

Barbara Montelbano and Rachel Klenda having fun on Regatta race day.

Marbles for MS Painting Donated to OMRF MS Center of Excellence


By Brandi Moore

he’d like to display artwork done by MS patients at the MS Center of Excellence, Ray Mack and With the support of two young fundraisers at Mark Neagli (National MS Society Regional work, the National MS Society, Delaney Mack Executive Vice President) presented the framed and Connor Grossman recently donated a framed painting to him at the end of September. Marbles 4 MS painting to the MS Center of If you’d like to purchase a Marbles 4 MS painting, Excellence at the Oklahoma Medical Research visit Foundation (OMRF) in Oklahoma City. Delaney, daughter of Ray Mack (National MS Society Vice President of Development for Oklahoma and Arkansas), decided she wanted to raise funds for MS and began selling her MS necklaces at local Society events. Her father and she were going to purchase one of the Marbles 4 MS paintings with the funds raised but after hearing of Delaney’s efforts, the Marbles 4 MS creators (Connor and older brother Jackson) decided they wanted to donate the artwork. Therefore, Delaney and her father chose to use the funds raised to purchase a frame for the artwork and donate the remaining to Bike MS. After hearing Dr. Gabriel Pardo mention that

Welcome New Staff Member: Stacy Smith • Stacy Smith joined the Society as the Programs and Services/Community Development Coordinator on October 16. She will work with volunteers and youth involved in the Youth Against MS (YAMS) program. • She previously worked for SGS Pfinde, an oil and gas pipeline inspection company, as the HR and Payroll Specialist. She currently is a freelance writer for Tulsa People and Tulsa Pets magazine.

Mark Neagli, Ray Mack & Dr. Gabriel Pardo at OMRF • Stacy graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. Go Pokes! • She is a big sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization. • She got married this past summer to her best friend, Trey Smith. • “I first became interested in communications because I saw so many groups of people who needed their stories told but had no outlet to do so. To me, it is important to highlight those who are often left in the dark, and people with MS sometimes fall into this group because many people misunderstand the disease and misunderstand those who have MS.” TOLL FREE NUMBER 1 800 344 4867

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UPDATE: $420,000 raised through Bike MS Oklahoma

By Shannon Blackwell Two days and approximately 150 miles later, Bike MS: The Mother Road Ride is a wrap! Thank you to everyone who came out and gave their time, money, and energy to make this event possible. To the 200 plus volunteers, we couldn’t do this without you! To the Oklahoma City and Tulsa bike committees, your dedication and hard work year ’round is invaluable. To the cyclists and fundraisers, I am pleased to announce that you all raised $420,000. Your generosity will serve the thousands of Oklahomans affected by this terrible disease. To all of our sponsors, a big thank you for your continued support-we are so fortunate!

Thank you ALL for making my first Bike MS Oklahoma a success! I am grateful to have had such a wonderful experience and to work with such a giving group of people! Drum roll please…there will be a new route in 2013! We will start, overnight and end in Chandler, Okla. and will be offering various route lengths to cater to all participants. Route details have not been finalized at this time, but work on these new routes is underway. Save the Date: 2013 Bike MS Oklahoma, September 21-22

What are You Saying on Facebook? By Brandi Moore

been wonderful to me. I live alone and they will stay past their time just to listen to my problems or joys in life. I love them all.”

On November 1, we asked You to share with us why you are thankful for your caregiver. We hope you are as moved by the responses shared as we were. • Chris Fuller – “Bikes, brew, pretty girls and good health…for my family and my extended Here are some of the responses (randomly selected): family at the Society.” • Minta Tauer – “My family, my doctors, my friends, my dogs and the health I enjoy in spite of my disease.” • Lisa DeMore – “My caregiver is my 24 yearold son. He’s the best. I just hate that he has to see some of the falls and such. I truly don’t know what I would do without him.” • Gayla Inks Jackson – “I have wonderful caregivers, they don’t just act like I am a patient to them, or a job, or a bother, but like a friend. They talk, they listen, and they have 6 I JOIN THE MOVEMENT:

Please become a fan of our Facebook page (National MS Society – Oklahoma Chapter), if you’re not already. We keep it current with updates and the latest information on Society events, activities, programs and research.

WALK MS: Raising Funds and Celebrating Hope


By Cristy Racy

Registration for each event is free. Participants and volunteers will enjoy free refreshments Thanks to more than 4,500 Walk MS participants and entertainment before and after the walk. throughout Oklahoma, more than $375,000 was Register online at raised in 2012! Muskogee and Stillwater just held their Walk MS events in October, both very CONGRATULATIONS to our 2013 Walk MS successful in raising more than $20,000 together Elite Teams! – now that’s a MOVEMENT! Fishermens Cove, Lawton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $12,294 Through national efforts and our 50-state Debbie’s 79ers, OKC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10,841 network of chapters in local communities, Walk Noble Energy Inc., Ardmore. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $7,000 MS provides an opportunity to connect people Ultrathin, OKC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $5,975 living with MS and those who care about them. Newfield Exploration, Tulsa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $5,557 Walk MS raises critical funds to support lifeLove for Laura, OKC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $5,222 changing programs and cutting-edge research. KIS Walkers, Lawton. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $4,750 Nearly 340,000 people come together nationwide 4-Minute Myelin, Tulsa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $4,440 to show the power of our connections. Annette’s Amazing Angels, Tulsa . . . . . . . . . . . $4,360 MS Kickers, Tulsa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $4,115 In 2013, Walk MS Oklahoma will offer a total of Wildhearts, Tulsa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3,975 seven events, four in the spring and three in the fall. Michelle and Martha’s Motivators, Tulsa. . . $3,930 Here’s a preview of the dates and locations: Convergys, OKC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3,878 Quickdraws, Ardmore. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3,825 Spring TEAM PARDEE, OKC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3,754 Tulsa: April 13 Sunshine Walkers, Tulsa. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3,655 Lawton: April 20 Team Rushing, OKC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3,500 Northwest Oklahoma: April 27 UNITED for KENNY, OKC. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $3,042 Oklahoma City: May 4 Fall Ardmore: October 5 Muskogee: October TBD Stillwater: October TBD We’re excited to offer the all-new Walk MS Northwest Oklahoma located in Garber, Okla. – just 20 miles east of Enid. You’ll also notice that the Walk MS Ardmore event has changed to the fall to better accommodate the local community. Stay tuned for those dates to be announced in the spring. TOLL FREE NUMBER 1 800 344 4867

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Volunteers Share Some Holiday Spirit!

Each year, a group of dedicated volunteers come together and create holiday spirit for our members with MS who are homebound or living in nursing homes. This program is aimed at reducing isolation by sending volunteers to deliver not only a friendly visit but also a gift bag full of goodies. This program is conducted twice a year, once during the spring or summer and always at Christmas! We are looking for volunteers to help deliver holiday bags around the state, if you are interested, please contact Stacy Smith at 918-488-0882, x35121 or Gail Bowles, Donna Bolain and Jane Richardson help put together the bags.

Volunteer Highlight: Gayla Groom, Tulsa Volunteer While many of our volunteers have been with us for a number of years, they all started out as rookies. Here’s a salute to all the new volunteers committed to making this world free of MS. Gayla Groom is one of our newer volunteers and we’d like to highlight her. Years Spent Volunteering for the Society: 2 Volunteer Areas: Bike MS in Bristow, Chandler, Oklahoma City, & Tulsa

Reason for Volunteering: She and her husband have a friend with MS The Best Part about Volunteering: She says, “Getting to meet all sorts of new people.” Thoughts on Volunteering for Bike MS: “I had a blast helping out and look forward to doing it again next year and many years to come.” To Gayla and all our other new volunteers, thank you for joining the movement!


Meet Our Volunteer Hall of Fame Inductees Each year, local volunteers are nominated to receive national recognition for their outstanding service to the National MS Society. Congratulations to the following South Central volunteers inducted into the Society’s Volunteer Hall of Fame for 2012. Advocacy Champion: Patti Barker Since daughter Channing’s MS diagnosis at the age of 16 in 2006, Patti has been a driving force of the Society’s South Central MS movement. Patti chairs the Oklahoma Government Relations Committee; she also serves on the Oklahoma Leadership Council and the South Central Board of Trustees. As she has told legislators, “With your support, one day MS will equal ‘Mystery Solved.’ ”


Health Professionals Champion: Dr. Amy Gutierrez Dr. Amy Gutierrez became involved with the Society nine years ago and remains actively engaged in numerous areas of the MS mission. She has served on the South Central Board of Trustees and Leadership Council since 2008, and the Clinical Advisory Committee since 2004. She speaks at numerous programs – such as Annual Meetings, North American Education Programs and Golden Circle Events – and supports the Society’s advocacy efforts. Additionally, Dr. Gutierrez rides in the annual Bike MS: Louisiana and participates in Walk MS: New Orleans.

Programs and Services Champion: Jinjer LeVan In 2009, Jinjer LeVan was awarded the Funding the Mission Champion: Gerald Merfish Kanaly Trust Foundation MS EntrepreGerald Merfish, owner of Merfish Pipe & neur Grant to develop an MS Symptom Supply, has been active with the Society Experience Kit, helping educate the public since 2000 and is the fifth highestabout living with multiple sclerosis. She is cumulative fundraiser for South Central an MS Ambassador, guest speaker at Self-Help Bike MS events. For nine years, he has Groups, state advocate, MS Awareness Week Public been a member of the Board of Trustees, where he Speaker, and a Walk MS Team Captain and has served as Board Secretary and Chairman of the committee member. Jinjer is one of approximately Finance Committee. He is credited with forming a 10 people in the United States with both MS and budget panel to review allocation of funds for Leiber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. programs and services.

Deadline is Jan. 15 for Scholarship Applications The National MS Society offers a scholarship program for students with multiple sclerosis or who have a parent with MS. Applicants must plan to attend an accredited post-secondary school for the first time and to take at least six credit hours per semester leading to a degree, license or certificate. Each recipient is selected based on financial need, academic performance, compelling personal or family circumstances, and an applicant’s essay on the impact of MS on his or her life. Awards range from $1,000 to $3,000 for one year. A small

number of four-year awards are also offered. Scholarship applications for 2013 are available on the Society’s website. There is no application fee for Society scholarships. Completed applications and supporting materials must be submitted by Jan. 15, 2013. For guidelines and applications, visit www. or call the Society at 1-800-344-4867 (press 1). TOLL FREE NUMBER 1 800 344 4867

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Mattress Firm Helps Provide Good Night’s Rest for Person in Need

By Stacy Smith Society employees recently teamed up with a generous company to make one woman’s house a real home. After spending days in an unfamiliar hospital, most people look forward to the basic things that make their home a welcoming place: their couch where they can sit and rest, their favorite meal to cook, or their own comfortable bed. For one South Central resident with MS, continuing her recuperation at home on her worn 15-year-old mattress was far from a comfortable prospect. Within the last few months, she experienced a


relapse that worsened her MS symptoms and placed her in the hospital. After being released, the woman went home for much-needed rest, though she was unable to replace her uncomfortable, disintegrating mattress due to tight finances. After Society staff members told the woman’s story to Mattress Firm representatives, the company agreed to help by donating a new bed equipped with rails, along with a new bed for her daughter. Through dedication and teamwork, Mattress Firm and Society employees ensured one family would have a good night’s rest.

Stacy Smith is the volunteer coordinator in the Society’s Tulsa, Okla. office.

2013 OKLAHOMA PUBLIC POLICY CONFERENCE National Multiple Sclerosis Society February 6, 2013

Oklahoma City

You are invited to make a difference in the lives of people living with multiple sclerosis by sharing your story with your state legislators at the 2013 Oklahoma Public Policy Conference. This one-day event held at the Capitol is a great way to educate lawmakers about the importance of supporting legislation that can make a difference in the lives of Oklahomans affected by MS.

MS Activists and National MS Society staff will be your partners every step of the way!

One voice connecting with one legislator can make a huge difference for thousands of individuals living with chronic illness.


Research Round-Up

FDA Approves Second Oral Drug for MS In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved teriflunomide oncedaily pills to treat relapsing forms of MS. This is the second oral disease-modifying therapy approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. “We are greatly encouraged to see a new oral therapeutic option become available to people living with MS,” said Bruce A. Cohen, M.D., Professor, Davee Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurosciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and incoming Chair of the National MS Society’s National Medical Advisory Committee. “As with any new therapy, the long-term safety of Aubagio will need to be carefully monitored.” Dr. Timothy Coetzee, Chief Research Officer at the Society said, “With the collaborative research underway around the world today, this is an extremely hopeful time for anyone who is diagnosed with MS.”

Weight Training Improves Walking and Quality of Life for Women with MS Women participating in a small study of progressive resistance weight training 12 I JOIN THE MOVEMENT:

improved significantly in walking, and reported improvements in quality of life as well. The study, funded by the National MS Society, used standard measures to evaluate the effects of the program, along with in-depth interviews of the participants to determine the full effects on quality of life. During the training period, participants performed three supervised exercise sessions per week in a university-based fitness center using conventional weight-lifting machines. Trainers had previous experience working with people with MS. Training protocols were individualized to meet individuals’ differences in fitness and to accommodate day-to-day variability in fatigue. Walking performance improved by more than 13 percent. All participants reported enhanced muscle endurance or delayed muscle fatigue, as well as strength. These experiences impacted performance of a variety of daily life tasks. “I have not used any of those electrical carts in any of the big stores in a long time now,” said one participant. Another noted, “Since I’ve been doing this, I’ve been having stuff [to do] every single day of the week. In the past, I would do something one day and then rest the next day.” Six participants reported improved physical capabilities that impacted daily tasks such as yard work, shopping and chores around the house. Seven perceived a social impact, including making new friends, camaraderie with the other participants and research staff, being less of a burden on caregivers, and the development of a support network. Six claimed they had positive emotional responses due to the exercise program that included pride of accomplishment and a better mood. “I smile a lot more and that’s good,” noted one woman.


Testosterone Prevents Nerve Impairments in MS Study Researchers funded by the National MS Society have shown that the male sex hormone testosterone prevented or restored impairments in nerve impulse transmission in mice with EAE, an MS-like disease. The improvements specifically occurred in an area of the brain associated with cognitive function, lending evidence to the potential for the future use of sex hormones to treat this MS symptom. This team is currently conducting clinical trials to determine whether estriol (another sex hormone, added on to standard therapies) improves disease activity and cognition in women with MS. Genes May Help Categorize Disease Course and Response to Therapy A team led by Philip L. De Jager, M.D., a Harry Weaver Scholar of the National MS Society from Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, has discovered that differences in active genes – detectable in blood samples – have the potential to be used to group people with MS into categories that predict disease course and

response to therapy. Further research is needed to refine this approach before it becomes a tool that can benefit treatment decisions made by people with MS and their health care providers. New Innovation Prize Created to Spur Research Progress A new $100,000 annual cash prize has been established to recognize scientists whose inventive work is propelling measurable MS research progress. The Barancik Prize for Innovation in MS Research recognizes an exceptional scientist or team whose work in MS research has demonstrated outstanding innovation and originality. The prize is made possible by the generosity of the Charles and Margery Barancik SO Foundation, and is administered through the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. “We are proud to steward the new Barancik Prize, the largest ever established to spur progress toward stopping MS, restoring function and ending MS forever,” said Cyndi Zagieboylo, President and CEO of the National MS Society. “This is the latest in a long history of generous support for MS research provided by Charles and Margery Barancik, and it reflects their wish to speed this vital work.” The first prize will be given in May 2013. Nominations are accepted until Jan. 31, 2012. A selection committee comprised of leaders in science, medicine and MS advocacy will review nominees for their exceptional innovation and originality, impact and potential of the research to lead to pathways for the treatment and cure for MS, and accomplishments that merit recognition as a future leader in MS research.

TOLL FREE NUMBER 1 800 344 4867

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Your Year-End Support Has Year-Round Impact on 3,400 Oklahoma Families The lives of people living with MS have been impacted in significant ways in 2012 and your year-end gift is important to the 3,400 Oklahoma families living with multiple sclerosis who are served by the National MS Society. The Society is committed to maintaining a high level of care and services for all people who have MS. In 2012, more funds were spent on programs, research and direct financial assistance than ever before. In Oklahoma we awarded 10 new scholarships to students entering college for the first time and renewed 12 scholarships for students who had previously qualified, totaling $27,500. Hundreds of applications for financial assistance were received and more than $34,000 was distributed to families across the state. Your donation today will impact Oklahomans lives tomorrow: • Your gift can keep the utilities on in someone’s home when temperatures dive this winter • Your donation can help pay for modifications in a home to make it accessible for someone in a wheelchair • Your gift can help send a young person with MS to college, perhaps a future MS researcher! • Your gift can fund research NOW that will STOP the progression of the disease, RESTORE what’s been lost and END MS forever. Help us continue these and other important programs. Now is the perfect time of year to make a 100% tax-deductible donation to the National MS Society. Donate on our secure website at and select the orange DONATE button. If you would like more information on how to direct your gift or on how your gift will be used, please contact Taylor Mallia, Associate Vice President, Strategic Philanthropy, at 800-323-4873, ext. 32970 or by e-mail at

Self-Help Groups Self-help groups include persons with MS, spouses, adult family members and friends. Please call the group leader for meeting information.

Ardmore: Linda, 580-223-2427 Duncan: J’Nell, 580-255-0886 Kassie, 580-475-0576 David, 580-252-2439

Oklahoma City: Quail Creek Group Jody, 405-755-5756 Women’s Luncheon Group Janice, 405-943-1103

Tulsa: PACE Dave, 918-645-0880 Sandra, 918-481-9928 Don, 918-355-9809

ATOMS Tom, 405-209-5410 Emily, 405-607-2861 Jody, 405-755-5756 TOLL FREE NUMBER 1 800 344 4867

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Oklahoma Chapter

National Multiple Sclerosis Society 4606 East 67th Street, Suite 103 Tulsa, OK 74136 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED POSTAL CARRIER – DATED MATERIAL PLEASE DO NOT DELAY

Save the Date February 6 Oklahoma Public Policy Conference (OKC) March 11-17 MS Awareness Week

WALK MS Events: April 13 – Walk MS Tulsa April 20 – Walk MS Lawton April 27 – Walk MS Northwest Oklahoma May 4 – Walk MS Oklahoma City

Oklahoma Winter 2013 MSConnection  
Oklahoma Winter 2013 MSConnection  

Newsletter for persons living with MS in Oklahoma