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Connections Winter 2004: Local 853 Member Janine Vanier Earns Volunteer Honor

“I was very honored, humbled and inspired by attending this National Multiple Sclerosis Conference because I found myself among some of the most incredible people who are from every walk of life who are so dedicated to ending this damn disease,” says Janine Vanier upon returning from Denver, where she was inducted into the MS Volunteer Hall of Fame. “The theme of the conference was "Believe." and by hearing, seeing, and being among so many who do believe, I am sure that the cure for MS will be found soon.”

Janine received her award on November 11, 2004. She was one of 30 people honored from around the nation in the categories of advocacy, client programs, fundraising and health professionals. The MS Society chose these Volunteer Hall of Fame members for their “generous contribution of time, talent, leadership and commitment to our mission.”

For 12 years, Janine worked as the Local 853 office manager but never disclosed that she had MS herself. But after getting involved with the Northern California Chapter of the MS Society, it didn’t take much for her to convince the Local to make reasonable accommodations, and together they have formed one of the nation’s top workplace fundraising teams. To date, Janine and her Teamster supporters have raised more than $150,000 and have connected the Society to many new donors.

For each of the past four years, the TeamMSters have increased the number of people and amount raised in the MS Walk-a-thon, held at Crown Beach in Alameda. The 2005 Walk-a-thon is already planned for April 10, and Janine hopes to break all records. Janine organizing the first TeamMSters team in 2001.