Walk AS One is excited to announce the addition of two new board members. With immediate effect, Michelle Andrews will be taking on the role of Treasurer, and Cookie Hopper will be our Community Outreach Director.
Michelle Andrews is a Business Systems Analyst for the State of Maine and holds a BA in accounting from the University of Maine. She has been actively involved with the Spondylitis Association of America (SAA) as a Support Group Leader in Maine since 2006. Her role included organizing events and activities, along with attending the SAA leadership conference in Los Angeles in 2007. Michelle is a mother of three loving children. During her time off of work she enjoys tracing her heritage and genealogy and has authored several family history books, as well.
Cookie Hopper is the creator of The Faces of Ankylosing Spondylitis and The Faces of Ankylosing Spondylitis Information Board. Cookie has single-handedly gathered 1754 individual “faces” or people with AS together to share their stories of being diagnosed and living with this disease and won’t stop until she hits the goal of 2700 people! Cookie was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis in 2002, but didn’t become an active participant in the Ankylosing Spondylitis community until 2011. She participates in Walk Your AS Off under the “We’ve Got Your Back! For Fighting For Ankylosing Spondylitis” team. Cookie is also a business owner of a company in the Houston, Texas area that she and her husband started on a shoestring in 1999. She is loved not only by the AS Community, but by her local surrounding towns for the hands on personal touch she has brought to her customers as well as the charity work she provides locally.
In Cookie’s own words, “The main reason I wanted to be a part of this organization is because of the message it’s trying to share with the community, not only with words but by example. These individuals have decided to take on the challenges of Ankylosing Spondylitis in a straightforward manner and live their lives to the best of their ability. That is what appealed to me the most. It’s not about how many steps you take or goals you make; it’s about learning to accept that your BEST is YOUR best. In a world that demands perfection, it’s wonderful to be part of something that reminds me that my best is perfect enough, no matter how society or others see it. No excuses, no apologies, no guilt, no regrets. Your best is as good as anyone else’s. Period.”
All of us at Walk AS One feel extremely fortunate to welcome our two newest board members. We are confident that they will be extremely valuable members of our all volunteer organization, helping us to make 2017 the best year yet for Walk AS One and Walk your AS Off.