Volunteering is the ultimate expression of human connection – people acting selflessly on behalf of their communities driven by a desire to contribute to the greater good and help others.
The mission of the MS Society of Canada is to be a leader in finding a cure for multiple sclerosis and enabling people affected by MS to enhance their quality of life. The commitment of time and talent by volunteers allows us to strengthen that mission and make more impactful connections with Canadians affected by MS.
We would like to dedicate this week to the outstanding contributions of all our dedicated volunteers. Let’s kick things off by announcing the winners of our National Awards of Achievement.
National President’s Award: Lizelle Mendoza from Winnipeg, Manitoba
(Recognizes the valuable contribution of a person with MS)
Lizelle Mendoza has accomplished so many amazing things in her work with the MS Society. Her leadership and interpersonal skills are truly awe inspiring.
She has made exemplary contributions to MS across the country and her ability to lead by example and educate others is beyond exceptional.
She is a wonderful role model and we are so grateful to have her as a leader and advocate for people affected by with MS.
“I’m so speechless, this actually means a lot to me to be recognized in this way.
One of the main things I’ve always told people is to not let anything stop you from doing what you believe in. That’s what keeps me going and it’s all about perspective keeping a smile on your face and not letting anyone get you down.” – Lizelle, diagnosed in 2007
National Opal Award for Caregivers: Gary Pearson from Cornwall, Ontario
(Recognizes the valuable contribution of caregivers of persons with MS)
Gary and his wife Joanne Pearson are truly inspirational individuals. Gary’s life has been dedicated not only to his wife as a care partner, but to MS as an advocate.
Gary has been a wonderful role model for the community as well as his family. It is obvious that his dedication and commitment are respected by the community and his children.
His lifelong contributions and unseen struggles reflect the fact true love has the power to conquer the curveballs life can throw our way.
It’s wonderful to know that there are people who are putting in the hard work required to deal with the struggles illness can present.
“I was just doing what I should have been doing for my wife. This is a great acknowledgement. I’ve had a ton of help from my family and friends and I’m proud to receive the reward and I’m certain there are more like myself who deserve one as well.
Know there are a lot of people out there who want to volunteer but just can’t make it, believe me when I say that taking the time to help out can feel so rewarding, just as it did for me while volunteering with my Wife for all these years.” – Gary, Wife diagnosed in 1964
National Award of Merit, Member: Dr. Galina Vorobeychik from Burnaby, British Columbia
(Recognizes a member whose volunteer activities had had impact on a national and/or nationwide level)
Dr. Galina Vorobeychik has demonstrated her commitment to the MS Community through selflessly providing accessible and high quality care to those in need.
Her vision for a clinic which offers support to people living with MS and introduce them to a collaborative care team makes it simpler and less overwhelming for people struggling to navigate our health care system and allows them to access the care they need.
The fact that she has chosen to become a leader in health care shows what can be done when someone uses their abilities to help others.
“This means a lot to me, but also the whole team because it’s a team effort and not just me who did a great job building this unique clinic and it’s nice to know that we’re being recognized for our hard work and it keeps us going.
I’m always promoting volunteering because I think it helps, not only the people, who you provide additional services to, it actually gives you a lot of benefits for yourself. You suddenly realize that if you start volunteering and helping outside your normal duties it will really keep you going and appreciate life. It empowers you.”– Dr. Galina Vorobeychik
National Award of Merit, Non-Member: Carl Sketchley from Surrey, British Columbia
(Recognizes a non-member whose volunteer activities have had impact on a national and/or nationwide level)
Carl Sketchley has made ‘outstanding contributions’ to the MS Society of Canada. His commitment to the cause is an example of what the MS Society was founded on, and his dedication is why he is deserving of this award.
It’s inspiring to see how much time he has so generously put in to improving the lives of Canadians affected by MS. His brilliant communications skills and his clever use of media demonstrate Carl’s ability to be a leader behind the scenes and his contributions are truly appreciated.
For many people who have lost someone to MS, Carl serves as a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit and what it is capable of.
“When I became a volunteer I didn’t do it for awards or anything like that, I did it because I wanted to give back to the MS Society who did a lot for my late uncle. For me it was about getting in there and giving it my all and I really enjoyed every day that I volunteered and meeting all those other inspirational volunteers. If I could send one message to the other volunteers out there, I’d tell them that they’re volunteering for a really great organization that’s really making a difference in the lives of Canadians living with MS and to keep doing great work because it all counts and the MS Society is volunteer driven and could use all your support”– Carl Sketchley