Missouri Chapter President Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award
Organization Honors Mary Blades’ Service to the Scleroderma Community
DANVERS, Mass., Aug. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Scleroderma Foundation recently honored a Missouri resident with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Mary Blades, of Springfield, has served as president of the Missouri Chapter for eight years. She also sits on the organization’s National Board of Directors and its Advocacy Committee.
Through the years, Blades has dedicated herself at both the local and national levels to advance the Scleroderma Foundation’s mission. Diagnosed with scleroderma in 1998, she has persevered with constant energy and relentless commitment to affect growth within the organization to better serve people living with scleroderma.
“If you’ve known and worked with Mary, as I have, you’ll know that she is a compassionate friend, a tireless leader, and fearless champion of the Scleroderma Foundation and its members,” said Foundation CEO Robert J. Riggs when presenting the award. “Over her many years of involvement, Mary has been, and remains, a bright jewel in the Scleroderma Foundation’s treasure chest of leaders.”
This is not the first accolade Blades has received. She was nominated and elected by her peers (other chapter presidents) to be their representative on the Foundation’s National Board of Directors, a role she continues to fulfill. She is a past recipient of the organization’s Chapter Volunteer of the Year award (2010); and under her leadership, the Missouri Chapter has been honored for outstanding fundraising and awareness programs.
Blades accepted the award at the Scleroderma Foundation’s 15th Annual National Patient Education Conference, held in Atlanta three weeks ago. In her acceptance speech, she thanked her husband, Benjamin; her children, the Missouri Chapter’s members and volunteers; and all the people living with scleroderma for giving her strength to keep fighting the rare and sometimes fatal disease.
Scleroderma is a chronic, often progressive, autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks one’s body.
Scleroderma means “hard skin.” It can cause a thickening and tightening of the skin. In some cases, it causes serious damage to internal organs including the lungs, heart, kidneys, esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. As scarring, or sclerosis, of these organs and organ systems progress, they work less effectively, and can lead to organ failure and death.
Some medications and treatments can help with certain symptoms, but there is no cure for scleroderma. The disease affects about 300,000 people across the U.S.
About the Scleroderma Foundation
The Scleroderma Foundation is the national organization for people with scleroderma, their families and friends. It was formed Jan. 1, 1998, by a merger between the United Scleroderma Foundation and the Scleroderma Federation.
The Scleroderma Foundation is headquartered in the metro Boston area in Danvers, Mass. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to serving the interests of people living with scleroderma. The Foundation has a network of 24 chapters and 150 support groups committed to carrying out the three-fold mission of support, education and research. The Scleroderma Foundation is the largest nonprofit funder of peer-reviewed medical research, making available at least $1 million per year in new research grants to find the cause, better treatments, and a cure for scleroderma.
For more information about the Scleroderma Foundation, visit www.scleroderma.org or call (800) 722-HOPE (4673). You also can find the Foundation on Facebook (www.facebook.com/sclerodermaus) and Twitter (@scleroderma).
SOURCE Scleroderma Foundation