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This MS Thriver Has Devoted Her Life To Helping Others Thrive Too
Nancy Davis was diagnosed with MS nearly three decades ago. Initially debilitated, she has not only found a way to survive with her relapsing-remitting form of the disease, she founded an organization, Race to Erase MS, with the singular goal of finding a cure. Along the way, the organization has funded research resulting in 17 new MS treatments, helping many with MS to thrive like her.
Interview with Nancy Davis, the COO of Race to Erase MS.
The following is the pre-interview with Nancy Davis. Be sure to watch the recorded interview above.
For-profit/Nonprofit: 501(c)3 Nonprofit
Revenue model: Event fundraising through a gala, golf tournament and various other events. We also raise funds through our Orange You Happy to Erase MS campaign. Corporate partners sell product with a percentage of the proceeds donated back to Race to Erase MS.
Scale: All funds raise support research grants through our Center Without Walls program.
What is the problem you solve and how do you solve it?
We want to find a cure for MS and increase the quality of life for everyone afflicted with this disease. We accomplish this by funding cutting-edge research through our Center Without Wall program which is a unique collaboration of eight of the best MS research centers in the country which participate with them of always communication and never duplicating research.
More about Race to Erase MS:
The Race to Erase MS is dedicated to the treatment and ultimate cure of MS. Funding research is the core focus of the Foundation and all funds raised support our Center Without Walls program, a selected network of the nation’s top MS research centers. This nationwide collaboration of physicians and scientists are on the cutting-edge of innovative research programs, working as a team on therapeutic approaches to eradicate MS. In addition to combating MS through research in a clinical environment, we hope to increase awareness by educating the public about this mystifying disease.
Nancy Davis. Photo Credit: David La Porte
Nancy Davis’s bio:
Nancy Davis, one of five children, was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. In 1987 she moved to California and now resides in Los Angeles with her husband and five children. Nancy is an active individual with an incredible zest for life. She skis, plays tennis, has a black belt in karate, exercises, and travels – living her life to the fullest. She is an extremely dedicated philanthropist, jewelry and now clothing designer and author. Most importantly, she is a full-time mother who is devoted to her five children. Nancy was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 33 in 1991. After being told by her doctors that she would be “lucky” to operate a remote control on her TV, she realized she was too young and too busy to let the disease stop her life in its tracks. She was determined to devote her time, relationships and resources to finding a cure. Nancy’s hope, courage and strength continue to inspire her to maintain a vibrant quality of life despite this chronic disease, but most of all, she remains positive, continues to live her life to the fullest, and is tireless in her efforts to finding the cure for MS.
In 1993 she founded the Race to Erase MS – an organization whose primary focus is to raise funds for the most cutting-edge, aggressive and promising research in an effort to find a cure for MS. She created the Race to Erase MS Gala event – an intimate ski getaway weekend in Aspen, Colorado and then eventually moved to Los Angeles. Since its inception, the Race to Erase MS has grown into a spectacular celebrity gala benefit held annually. Over the years she has gained the support of many key individuals in the entertainment and fashion industries. To date, the annual Race to Erase MS gala event has raised over $47 million for multiple sclerosis research. When she first started, there was no known cause, no cure, no drugs on the market, and a true lack of hope. Nancy and the foundation are proud to have funded the scientific discoveries that led to the development of fifteenth drug to receive FDA approval in March of 2017 called Ocrevus. The studies were carried out over a period of many years at UCSF in work supported by the Race to Erase MS and their Center Without Walls program founded by Nancy Davis. For the young person being diagnosed with MS today, there is so much hope for living a productive lifestyle and eventually finding a cure for MS.
During the production of her 2002 Race to Erase Gala with Tommy Hilfiger, with major rumblings around the world, she and Tommy determined to have a theme: Peace & Love to Erase MS. States Davis: “The feeling was to take us back to a time in our world when peace and love was a simple, powerful message.” The event’s symbol became a heart with a peace sign nestled in the middle. As a thank you gift to performers Natalie Cole, Donna Summer and Sela Ward, Nancy made necklaces bearing the powerful symbol. Upon seeing the jewelry, many in attendance wanted to learn where they could find more for their family and friends. And thus, Peace & Love Jewelry by Nancy Davis was born.
Dividing her time between parenthood and philanthropy, activism and design, Nancy Davis has dedicated her life to inspiring hope in the lives of others. In this she finds peace and love – the inspiration for her jewelry collection and clothing line. After an exclusive launch at Saks Fifth Avenue, the Peace & Love collection now includes good luck icons and semi-precious stones as well as the signature 18 karat white gold icon, encrusted with diamonds. The now iconic pieces can be seen on the likes of Halle Berry, Brooke Shields, Nicole Richie, Hilary Duff, Sharon Osborne, and Avril Lavigne, amongst others. For men, the icon has been interpreted in cufflinks bearing peace signs, Buddhas, and elephants with raised trunks, in 18 karat gold with diamonds. The cufflinks are worn by personalities Tommy Hilfiger, Bill Maher, Don Henley and Elton John amongst others. Peace and Love Jewelry has been featured on QVC and is currently available on EVINE LIVE.
The Peace and Love Collection is inspired by Nancy Davis’s lifelong love of hearts, peace signs and equality. The core Philosophy of the brand is that everybody in the world ultimately wants peace and love in their life. As Chief Designer of Peace and Love, Nancy Davis believes that great design and style should not be limited to the most expensive tier of the luxury market. Everybody deserves beautiful and cherished things in their life. Each Peace and Love design reflects happiness and good luck. Wherever you live in the world, we all uniquely long for Peace and Love, and aspire simply to have this universal language all over the world.
RACE TO ERASE MS MISSION AND PROGRAM
Funding research is the core focus of the Foundation and all funds raised support our Center Without Walls program, a selected network of the nation’s top MS research centers. This nationwide collaboration of physicians and scientists are on the cutting-edge of innovative research programs. In addition to combating MS through research in a clinical environment, we hope to increase awareness by educating the public about this mystifying disease. The Race to Erase MS is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Tax ID # 84-1238541.
Center Without Walls Program (CWW): The Race to Erase MS CWW program has provided support that has permitted the medical community to link together multidisciplinary scientific programs and expertise across the country to advance the understanding of the cause of MS and to develop new treatments. The Center is a break-through success because of the vision, insight and flexibility of these extraordinary doctors. The Center’s theme is simple; communication – doctors working together toward a mutual goal. When this goal is reached, all will share in the victory. The Center’s network of the top MS institutions that have established leading, innovative research programs presently include UCSF, Cedars-Sinai, Harvard, Yale, USC, Johns Hopkins, Oregon Health Sciences University, UCLA.
The Center constantly strives to strengthen this revolutionary concept with new approaches to finding the brightest minds in this field. In addition to the regular use of high-technology communication tools, researchers of CWW come together to share scientific accomplishments through monthly telephone conference calls, standard scientific advisory meetings and MS symposiums held four times a year. Through research supported by the Race to Erase to MS, truly revolutionary breakthroughs in genetics and immunology have been made possible at the CWW. These breakthroughs create the potential for the development of more effective drugs against multiple sclerosis and give promise for a cure in the near future.
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