FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kay Jasso, executive director
January 27, 2021 239-910-4416
MS Center of Southwest Florida Celebrates 20th Anniversary –
and notes ongoing need for support as local population increases
BONITA SPRINGS, FL – The Multiple Sclerosis Center of Southwest Florida is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The MS Center is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive care for the body, mind, and spirit of those affected by MS in Southwest Florida.
Kay Jasso, executive director of the MS Center, clarifies the uniqueness of the MS Center’s mission: “National organizations focus on research and their mission is to find a cure, while the MS Center is local ’boots on the ground,’ with the goal of having a positive, direct impact on the day-to-day lives of people suffering with MS.” Jasso goes on to say, “The MS Center has had an amazing journey over the past 20 years, but the need continues. More and more people with MS are moving to the area. The years ahead will be an exciting period of growth and transformation as we rise to the challenge to better serve those suffering with this chronic and life-altering disease.”
The MS Center’s service area of Southwest Florida includes an estimated 5,000 people living with multiple sclerosis, along with their affected families and friends. Over half of its clients are over 60. Since MS affects women three times more often than men, the client base at the MS Center is 85% women. You can read more about the MS Center’s work in the Southwest Florida community at www.mscenterswfl.org . In 2015, the organization served 52 people with MS. It now serves over 500 and continues to accept 45-50 new clients each year. Although located in Bonita Springs, the center has strong ties to its original community of Naples, FL. In recent years, and with the help of United Way of Lee County, the center expanded its service area to reach those in the Fort Myers and Cape Coral communities.
The MS Center’s annual gala will not take place this spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The loss of this revenue will greatly impact the programs and services of the MS Center in 2021. Individual donations are needed now more than ever to ensure the organization can continue to serve the growing MS population in Southwest Florida.
“I love that the center is focused on helping clients directly instead of just focusing on research,” says Shannon Diener, MS Center board chair, donor, and advocate. “I would like to appeal to others in the community that their valued support during these vulnerable times can help our clients maintain their mobility and prevent new injuries. Your support can ensure that more people with this disabling condition can remain active, strong, resilient, and independent.”
Lynne, a client, volunteer and donor of the MS Center says, “When you walk in the door of the MS Center, there is a positive energy, camaraderie, and peace. It is amazing to meet other people with MS in a positive atmosphere and be able to give back. All you have to do is look around the center and you will see your donations at work. It is amazing what they are doing for people with MS.”
During the COVID 19 pandemic, the MS Center has ramped up its virtual platform utilizing Zoom services and by making its own On Demand videos. Dozens of specialized exercise classes, seminars, and support group meetings are offered. Kay Jasso explains, “We are reaching even more people now than we did with the in-person activities. In 2021 we will be adding virtual meditation and art therapy. When we can meet again in person, we will offer a hybrid model, with both the in-person and virtual services.”
About the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Southwest Florida
The Multiple Sclerosis Center of Southwest Florida is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has served the community since 2000. Its mission is to provide comprehensive care for the body, mind, and spirit of people living with MS. Services include specialized exercise classes, care coordination, art therapy, mental health counseling, support groups, connection to resources, and educational activities.
The MS Center is not a chapter of a national organization. All donations received stay here in Southwest Florida to serve the local community. To get involved or to join as a client, contact Kay@mscenterswfl.org or call 239-319-0904.