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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Autumn 2021

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Get to know your new President | Resilience: I get knocked down, but I get up again | MSWA’s m contribution to research | 36 years of Bulletin

FROM THE DESK OF THE CEO

FROM THE DESK OF THE CEO MARCUS STAFFORD CEO Most meetings that I have with our President are easy. We are usually talking about strategy and performance. The most recent one, however, was difficult for me. This was the conversation where I advised Ros of my semi-retirement in general that, of course, included my resignation from MSWA. If I’m a halfway near decent CEO, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise. I’ve been preparing the pathway for our fine organisation for some time. But, even with the scene set and the foundations laid, being your CEO for nearly twenty years has been both an honour and a privilege, so that final announcement was hard to make. I won’t pass the baton until October, so that we can ensure a smooth and seamless transition and of course, plenty of time for proper goodbyes! As I sat down at my desk and wrote the resignation letter, I found myself thinking about the incredible journey that we have taken together. You’ll be relieved to know that I will not relive that journey today, or your casual read of Bulletin might require a deeper commitment! Instead, just a flavour will do. Day one was pretty unforgettable! Before driving home that evening I had been heckled in my first presentation and confronted by a few folk (quite a few in fact) who were keen to let me know about the decisions that I had to make. And all before lunch! As a man who had come from the relatively sterile environment of banking, I was struck by the passion of Members, staff and volunteers. I reckoned that if we could harness that for a common purpose, we would do some really good things. As over the years, I bathe in the reflected glory of our wonderful management, staff and Board. As I savour the wisdom and input of our Members, Clients and volunteers. As I appreciate the contributions of everyone, I feel reassured that we have done some really good things. Everyone will have their own highlights reel. For some, it might be the opening of our new accommodation centres and services hubs. For others, the day we became the largest funder of MS research in our nation’s history. Or perhaps the new physio program. Or record growth in care support. Or creation of family respite. Or maybe climbing the ladder to be one of the top three not-for-profits in Western Australia. The list will go on, and I don’t finish until October! My highlights reel includes those, but for me, I think it’s been the human moments that leave the strongest memories. The young couple, sitting in my office, discussing the new approach to their lives after the shock of her diagnosis. Initially a mood of despair, but ending with a positive sense of liberation. The woman who had been confined to a wheelchair, taking her first tentative steps after undertaking our intensive physio program. And her tears at that achievement. And the tears of our physiotherapists. Let no-one say that professional boundaries prevent human engagement! Plus, perhaps those light-hearted moments before the age of enlightenment. Seeing the smiles on the faces and listening to the laughter of ‘the crowd’, as our senior managers made fools of themselves at the Members’ Christmas party. Good sports one and all! As I head towards a sunset of semi-retirement, I reflect on our achievements, driven by the unflinching goal of making the lives of folk with neurological conditions just a little bit easier. All of that down to the broader team effort. Thank you. However, I don’t go until October, so plenty of time for proper goodbyes! 4

STRATEGIC SUPPORTS AND RESIDENTIAL OPTIONS SUE SHAPLAND RN, BN, MSCN GENERAL MANAGER STRATEGIC SUPPORTS AND RESIDENTIAL OPTIONS “Put on your positive pants” Unknown. Well, I found this quote and it caught my eye and made me laugh; haven’t we all needed our positive pants at some stage over the last 12 months! As COVID-19 continues to be a thorn in our side we can increasingly appreciate how Australia has thankfully been spared the dire circumstances we are seeing overseas. Thank goodness our Government and health authorities acted swiftly and continue to do so. The roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination is proving a challenge due to reduced supplies arriving and then the concerns regarding the very rare adverse events experienced related to clotting. The Government is encouraging the vaccinations as they will help us get back to some normalcy, especially regarding travel. Of course, here in WA we have had the additional challenges of the bushfires and then a cyclone in April which showed us how vulnerable our telecommunications networks are! Amazing – you can chat with the astronauts in outer space but lose all internet and phone connections for 1 to 3 days here on earth. Great news, with another MS therapy being added to the list of PBS approved medications and I have been very interested to hear there are trials happening on a selfinjectable version of Tysabri, to be given monthly. I am really getting excited about the construction of our ten residential units in Albany; well under way now and we are hoping to move the first residents in during February 2022. As with Butler, a Services Centre will be co-located, providing our local Clients access to allied health services and giving our Albany Outreach a permanent place to call home! Stay tuned for more news as the build develops. I really enjoy visiting Albany and will have a great excuse to go more often now. As you may know, we are also in the design stages of our Montario Quarter supported accommodation facility – twenty units in a twostorey facility located in Shenton Park. This will be amazing; I can’t wait to see the design drawings and schematics! MSWA continues to increase our funding for research, million this financial year! We are holding our Annual Client Forum on 15 September where you can hear from some of our researchers and their exciting work, so save the date and keep an eye out for further details. Please consider having your flu vaccination as per our article in this Bulletin. Last year’s flu numbers were down due to increased uptake of the vaccination and reduced travel, but importantly the COVID-19 precautions – like hand washing, social distancing and staying home if unwell – all helped reduce the risk and spread. Our teams are all busy with our preparations for re-registering as an NDIS provider and undertaking both self and external audits as part of our accreditation process. I hope you enjoy this Bulletin and that you stay safe and well, especially across the coming winter months. 5