Support center

Patient Advocate Award

Mission MSA recognizes the efforts of our patient community in spreading awareness of multiple system atrophy.

Since its inception in 2022, the Mission MSA Patient Advocate Award has been rewarded annually at the Multiple System Atrophy Annual Patient & Family Conference. It recognizes a current MSA patient who champions the awareness, needs, and overall impact of multiple system atrophy.

Eligibility: A current MSA patient, has public identity to raise awareness about multiple system atrophy and Mission MSA, has provided significant service in furthering the public image of multiple system atrophy, has contributed time, talent, and service to Mission MSA.

Selection process: Candidates are chosen through an application process that is open from June 30th through July 28th. All candidates are thoroughly vetted through a task force. The winner will be notified by July of the current year.

Benefits: Plaque, Mission MSA-funded travel (if conference is in person), hotel accommodations, and incidentals for the MSA Annual Patient & Family Conference. If the person is unable to travel, they may send a representative to accept the award on their behalf.

How to Apply: Check back in Summer 2024 for nominations for the 2024 Patient Advocate Award.

2023 - Hadley Ferguson

image of Hadley Ferguson

Hadley Ferguson’s journey is nothing short of inspiring, and her dedication to those with chronic illnesses, particularly those with Parkinsonsonisms and Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), has been exceptional.


Hadley began her path with a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Montana. She later founded Summit for Parkinson’s, Montana’s first organization dedicated to patients and their loved ones. Her tireless efforts include website development, fundraising events, and conferences.


Hadley’s influence extends beyond Summit for Parkinson’s. She’s worked closely with organizations like the Brian Grant Foundation, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and the MSA Coalition. Her dedication has earned her roles in the Michael J. Fox Foundation Patient Council and the MSA Coalition Board of Directors.


Beyond advocacy, Hadley finds joy in family and meaningful connections, embracing every opportunity to assist those on a similar journey.


We celebrate Hadley Ferguson for her resilience, dedication, and compassion. Her story is a testament to the power of advocacy and the profound impact it can have on individuals and communities.


2022 - Austin Crawford

image of Austin Crawford

Austin Crawford, of Watseka, IL, has been named the 2022 recipient of The MSA Coalition’s Patient Advocate Award. He has dedicated many years advocating for The MSA Coalition and the MSA community.


He was initially diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, like many MSA patients, in 2012 and later rediagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy in 2017.


Before his diagnosis and early in his career, Austin spent many years volunteering as a Firefighter/EMT-I and an Auxiliary Police Officer. He also was an avid motorcycle rider, even making the 75th Anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in 2015 and appearing in Quick Throttle magazine.


His interest in motorcycles and cars sparked the theme of a recent documentary staring Crawford, Driven to Help (2022). He also is featured in a second documentary Fighting MSA Austin Crawford’s Story (2020). Both films have given MSA a boost in awareness and has provided comfort and resources to many patients in the community.


Austin has been a volunteer with the Multiple System Atrophy Coalition since 2018 serving on the General Advisory Council. His efforts in spreading awareness of MSA through award-winning documentaries, television appearances, social media presence, and more will be a long-lasting legacy that will continue to serve the Coalition and MSA patients and families for years to come.


Visit to learn more about Austin and his advocacy work.