Can Do Multiple Sclerosis

Your support helps Can Do Multiple Sclerosis transform the lives of people living with MS and their support partners by delivering programs that equip them with knowledge on exercise, nutrition, and mental motivation.

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Organizational Overview

Can Do Multiple Sclerosis
100 W. Beaver Creek Blvd., Ste 200
Avon, CO 81620
(2009)The Heuga Center for MS
Can Do MS leads the way with comprehensive programs that empower people and families living with MS to transform and improve their quality of life.


Can Do MS thrives as a unique resource, delivering a more personalized, engaging, and experiential approach to enhanced well-being with multiple sclerosis. In-person and online programs examine the particular needs, concerns, and challenges of living with MS, and incorporate exclusive sessions devoted to key issues surrounding support partners.

In 2015, Can Do MS provided in-person and online programming to 15,000 people living with MS and their support partners. In 2016, Can Do MS will increase its reach by 25%, growing these highly-sought-after programs to impact the lives of 20,000 people. Can Do MS will achieve this transformational growth through expanding the number and types of programs currently offered.

In 2016, Can Do MS will deliver its signature programs, the flagship, four-day CAN DO® Program (marking its 87th year with over 520 participants from Colorado), the two-day TAKE CHARGE® Program, and the one-day JUMPSTART® Program. New for 2016, CDMS will provide a JUMPSTART Young Professional's Program in New York City, focusing on topics specific to young professional's living with multiple sclerosis. Topics covered in this program will include Financial Planning, Employment Issues, Disclosure, and Dating with MS. There are over 12,000 people between the ages of 18 and 40 living with MS in New York City.

To make all of these exciting programs available to as many people living with MS as we can, we work collaboratively with MS care providers and organizations around the U.S. and Canada. In 2009, Can Do MS formed a collaborative partnership with the National MS Society (NMSS) to align resources and more effectively improve the quality of life of people with MS and their support partners. In 2016, this collaboration was transformed into an even more strategic partnership. Can Do MS and the NMSS are hosting the Webinar & Telelearning Series to reach constituents of both organizations and fulfill the common mission of touching the lives of more people with MS.

Impact Statement

Can Do MS offers a range of individualized experiential learning formats, including multi-day workshops, weekend seminars, online resources and peer support programs. Can Do MS's philosophy is to enhance and complement traditional models of care by focusing on the physical, interpersonal, emotional, intellectual and spiritual aspects of living with MS.

Can Do MS's in-person and online programs impact more than 14,000 people with MS and their support partners each year. In 2015, Can Do MS delivered 23 programs, transforming 14,949 lives. Specifically, Can Do MS's in-person programming reached 500 people, while online programming provided information to more than 14,000 people living with MS. 230 people from the state of Colorado participated in a Can Do MS program in 2015.

In 2016, Can Do MS will increase its reach by 25%, growing its highly-sought-after programs to transform the lives of 20,000 people living with MS and their support partners. Can Do MS will achieve this transformational growth through expanding the number and types of programs currently offered, in addition to expanding a current communications collaboration with the National MS Society. This strategic partnership will draw on each organization's strengths, ultimately increasing impact and fulfilling the common organizational interest of serving more people with MS.

Can Do MS will incorporate a Young Professional's program in NYC during 2016. This program will focus on topics specific to young professional's living with multiple sclerosis, including Financial Planning, Employment Issues, Disclosure, and Dating with MS. There are over 12,000 people between the ages of 18 and 40 living with MS in New York City.

Background Statement

Olympic Alpine Ski medalist, Jimmie Heuga, founded Can Do Multiple Sclerosis in 1984, after being diagnosed with MS at the height of his athletic career. While conventional medical wisdom of the time advocated for adapting a sedentary lifestyle with MS, Jimmie began to develop a program of exercise, nutrition, and mental motivation, ultimately improving his condition and proving to himself and the MS care field that he could continue to live a full life. Jimmie set a goal of inspiring the 2.5 million people worldwide and 400,000 Americans living with this disease, to redefine what is possible. CDMS advances Jimmie's legacy, transforming the lives of people with MS and their support partners by delivering experiential programs and education that equip them with the tools to live their best lives.

Board Chair/President Statement

Dear Friends,

As the leading provider of innovative lifestyle empowerment programs for people with MS and their support partners, Can Do Multiple Sclerosis is pleased to share with all of our supporters the many successes we have had in the past year. With exciting new programs and developments in-store, we look forward to an even stronger 2016.

Can Do MS impacts the lives of more than 10,000 people annually through our mission of bringing a multi-disciplinary approach to MS care management. By offering a wide array of in-person programming, which ranges from single to multi-day formats, Can Do MS is able to educate and empower our program participants and their support partners with the lifelong tools they need to experience a better and more fulfilling quality of life. In complement to our in-person programming, we also provide monthly educational webinars and other online resources that bring together a group of specialists to speak on prevalent topics.

Multiple sclerosis is the second most expensive disease to treat, so we are proud to provide all of our programs free of charge. Due to high demand, all of our programs have waiting lists, and only limitations on funding impedes us from serving a larger group of people.

Based on our fiscal responsibility, Can Do MS has received a four star rating from Charity Navigator for six out of the last eight years, and 81 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to program funding. As a valued supporter of Can Do MS, you can have confidence that your donation goes directly to improving the quality of lives of people living with MS and their support partners. Thank you for your generous support to our mission.

With Gratitude,

Richard and Robin Kelly
Can Do MS Board of Directors

Needs Statement

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system, in which the insulating, protective covering (myelin sheath) surrounding the nerves in the brain and spinal cord is destroyed or damaged, resulting in interference with the brain's signals to various parts of the body.

• MS is diagnosed most frequently in adults between the ages of 20 and 50.
• The average rate of occurrence is one in every 750 people.
• Approximately 400,000 Americans have MS. 73% of them are women.
• There is no known cause, and no cure.

Symptoms of MS include numbness in the limbs, impaired speech and vision, blindness, and paresis/paralysis. Continued damage to the myelin on the spinal cord will lead to increased weakness (paresis) in the extremities, typically beginning in the legs and moving up to the arms and trunk. As a progressive disease, the damage will continue and cause increasing weakness with paresis ultimately developing into paralysis.

People with MS identify a primary unmet need for more information and strategies on:
1. Exercise
2. Nutrition
3. Communication
4. Insurance
5. Stress Management
6. Fatigue Management
7. Transportation and Travel
8. Employment
9. MS Treatment

For Can Do MS to put on such successful in-person and online programs our baseline financial needs are below:

1. To provide the CAN DO® Program to one person plus their support partner, the cost is $10,250.

2. To provide the TAKE CHARGE™ Program to one person plus their support partner, the cost is $4,400.

3. To provide the JUMPSTART® Program to one person plus their support partner, the cost is $1,200.

Executive Director Statement

Dear Friends,

Everything we do at Can Do Multiple Sclerosis is driven by one simple belief: you are more than your MS.

Can Do MS is the only resource of its kind in the world. We begin where other health and wellness programs leave off, complementing the traditional models of MS care by providing a more personalized, engaging, and experiential approach to enhanced well-being with multiple sclerosis. Our mission, culture, and programs are all driven by a core belief that everyone has the power to live fully with MS and achieve higher levels of health and well-being through increased self-awareness, acceptance, understanding, and support.

Through our comprehensive, multi-disciplinary programs, Can Do MS provides:

• A hands-on, interdisciplinary approach to MS care management that addresses the whole person, whole life and whole family aspects of living with MS.
• The industry's most comprehensive support partner programs, leveraging a range of engaging, experiential and active-learning programs.
• An individualized approach to teaching and learning, beginning where you are, no matter what stage of MS, and helping you to apply what you've learned to your unique condition and symptoms.
• A deeper and broader approach than other MS educators, encouraging hands-on learning through personal goal setting, group interaction and individualized instruction to help you experience first-hand what is possible with MS.

In 2014, Can Do MS impacted more than 11,000 people living with MS throughout North America and did so in collaboration with other members of the MS community. This year we currently have waiting lists for our upcoming programs, which are provided free of charge. That means fundraising continues to be essential for us to be able to meet the demand. Your gifts provide the critical resources which allow us to sustain our current programming while keeping an eye toward future opportunities to expand and create the innovative programming and online services people with MS and their support partners value. Over 80 percent of the dollars we receive are committed to our programs and services.

We consider every dollar contributed to be important and every donor like you to be the reason why we are able to continue offering our lifestyle empowerment programs to families living with MS free of charge!

I encourage you to visit our website to learn more about our upcoming programs and event happenings in 2014-2015.

Again, thank you for your generosity and support.


Heidi A. Heltzel
President and CEO

"A HUGE thank you to Can Do Multiple Sclerosis. I just got back from an intensive four-day program centered around what I CAN control in this disease which is my diet, exercise, mindfulness, and knowledge. It was amazing and absolutely life-changing."

- Nikki, 2015 CAN DO® Program Participant


"There is absolutely no way that I would have tried skiing again, if not for the Adaptive Ski Experience. My instructors helped me get over the initial difficulty of being on skis and made me feel confident enough to accomplish some awesome ski runs. It was a very positive experience for myself and my husband.

I feel extremely fortunate and grateful to have participated in this program, and I hope to return in the future. My husband really enjoyed being recognized for the challenges he faces as my support partner, and he appreciated being included in the fun. "

- Jane, 2016 Squaw Valley Adaptive Ski Program Participant


"It was a wonderful week-end. Relearning to adapt to situations I am not used to. Climbing stairs, being around crowds in a bar with wonderful music, meeting new people who share my disease. Finding so many smart, caring people who want to help people like me do anything is encouraging and heartwarming."

- Irene, 2016 Squaw Valley Adaptive Ski Program Participant


"Prior to my MS diagnosis I was an avid downhill skier and absolutely loved the Sierras in the winter. My wife and I were season pass holders at Kirkwood Ski resort in the Lake Tahoe area. In fact, we owned a home about 40 minutes from Kirkwood to be able to get a lot of days on the hill.

I was fearless on skis and loved the thrill of flying down a mountain. With the onset of my MS symptoms, and prior to my actual diagnosis, I started falling and it scared me, so I quit skiing. I thought that being back on the hill was not going to happen for me. Then I found Can Do Multiple Sclerosis and learned the story of Jimmie Heuga. What an incredible story and what an inspiration.

My wife and I attended a Can Do event last July in Oakland and I have to say it changed my life. Now I live I Am, I Can, I Do. Thank you for your support and allowing me to once again feel the thrill of skiing, although not as fast or effortlessly."

- Mark, 2015 Adaptive Ski Program Participant and 2014 TAKE CHARGE® Program Participant

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