New CEO for Multiple System Atrophy Trust
For immediate release: Tuesday 3 November 2015
Karen Walker has been appointed as the Multiple System Atrophy Trust1 (MSA Trust) charity’s first full-time Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
She initially became involved with the Trust when her close friend, Sarah Matheson, died from the rare neurological disease, multiple system atrophy2 (MSA) in 1999. After being diagnosed, Sarah was horrified to find out how little information was available to people affected by it. In 1997 she set up the MSA Trust to ensure that support was always available to people living with MSA.
Karen set up her first Support Group in Yorkshire in 2007 and then joined the Trust’s Board in 2009. She became Services Committee Chair in 2011 and in June 2014 was appointed as Chair of Resources Audit and Governance – a role she stood down from in June 2015 to act as Interim CEO.
Commenting on her appointment, Karen said:
“I’m delighted to be taking on this role at such a pivotal time at the Trust. We have an ambitious strategy and big plans such as increasing MSA Nurse Specialist support, providing virtual Support Groups, increasing the digital materials we produce and connecting with more health and care professionals to enable them to improve the care they provide to people with MSA. Ultimately all our plans will help ease the isolation that so often goes hand in hand with MSA.
“We also plan to invest in research to help realise our Vision of a world free of MSA. Until that day we will do everything we can, in line with our Mission, to support people affected by MSA and to strive to ensure that they are not alone on their individual journeys.
“In 2017 it will be twenty years since my dear friend, Sarah, founded the MSA Trust. I’m determined that, in her memory, the Trust will continue to grow and improve the services and support we provide.”
Karen’s previous roles include being a founder and director of a company providing day care for young children, employing a workforce of 150 staff; national policy director for an early years charity, setting up networks of support around the UK and supporting the development of training champions for people working in early years and Director of Children’s Services at a day care charity based in London, supporting vulnerable children and their families.
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Notes to editors:
1 The MSA Trust is the UK’s leading charity supporting people affected by MSA. The Trust relies entirely on voluntary donations and its services are free of charge – they include MSA Nurse Specialists, a Support Group network and a telephone and email support service. The Trust is also the UK’s main funder of research to find the cause, and one day, cure for MSA.
2 MSA is a rare disease that leads to premature death – it causes brain cells to shrink resulting in severe problems with multiple bodily functions. People with MSA often end up in need of 24/7 care, doubly incontinent, and in some cases unable to communicate, swallow or move.
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