[Announcement] Welcome Our Two Newest Board Members

You may remember our recent call for application submissions for new members of our board of directors. We were overwhelmed by your responses and the shortlist of applicants were tough to choose from. But we are very pleased to welcome four people to the Walk AS One family. Please join us in welcoming the two newest members of the board of directors, Christina Lowe, and Victoria Greenberg. We are also excited about welcoming the very first medical advisory board member: Adrienne Taren. And last but not least. Please welcome Angela Boswell, who has joined the volunteer committee.

Here’s a little about each of them:

Christina is a stay-at-home baseball mom, who loves a good book. She also loves to write, knit, crochet and is a keen quilter (when her hands allow it.) She’s an active AS advocate and took on the responsibility as co-captain of the Blue Apples in last years Walk Your AS Off. Since then she decided to devote her time “helping others who are struggling to overcome the obstacles this disease leaves us with.”

Victoria is a paralegal based in New Jersey who is passionate about raising the global awareness of AS. Victoria brings valuable insights to the team as a family member of someone with AS. Her brother, and our hero, Micheal Smith was a passionate AS advocate, and Victoria is helping to carry on his legacy.

Adrienne has captained the WYASO team “Endurance for AS” since 2014. She earned an MD and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh-Carnegie Mellon University Medical Scientist Training Program and is currently a resident physician with a research program focusing on the effects of stress and stress reduction interventions (such as mindfulness training) on brain structure and function. In her spare time, she can be found riding a bike (or five) through the gravel hills of Oklahoma.

Angela is a former EMT who battled to help others despite her AS diagnosis. She is passionate about educating medical professionals about AS and it’s related diseases.

As excited as we are to grow our Walk AS One family, with the addition of Christina and Victoria, we are saddened to see Carrie Kellenberger and Adam Wolfe go. They have both given so much towards raising awareness, and we feel extremely honored to have worked with them over the last 2+ years. They are both moving onto pastures new and we wish them all the best in their future endeavors. One thing we are sure of is that they’ll be walking their AS off, no matter what challenges they face. From all of us here at Walk AS One — Thank you.

Announcement: Please welcome our two new board members.

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.