SPOTLIGHT: Marcia Ball and Dr. Ronald Anderson

September 17, 2019 Dr. Ronald Anderson and Marcia Ball Join Board of Directors The RLS Foundation is pleased to announce two new mem...

September 17, 2019

Dr. Ronald Anderson and Marcia Ball Join Board of Directors

The RLS Foundation is pleased to announce two new members of the Board of Directors. Both have been long time supporters and members of the Foundation and now will be donating their time and talent to help propel the Foundation into 2020.

Linda Secretan, Secretary and Chairman of the RLS Foundation Nomination Committee explains, “Last September at the RLS Patient Symposium hosted by the RLS Foundation in La Jolla, we had an opportunity to meet many faithful Foundation members. It was a pure pleasure for your board members to meet so many for whom our shared mission and vision resonates. Marcia Ball and Dr. Ron Anderson were two of those enthusiastic members who expressed interest in how they might carry forward the effort on behalf of all of us, our families, and friends who are suffering from this increasingly well-known disease. Each brings a singular perspective and unique talents to the effort; we are grateful to them for joining the team!”

Ronald E. Anderson, PhD

Ronald E. Anderson, PhD was born in Sikeston, Missouri in 1941, but grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 1944-1953. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from La Sierra University and his PhD in sociology from Stanford University. He went on to become a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota and continued to teach for nearly four decades. As an academic, his early work focused on social and institutional factors as they relate to the development of technology-based teaching. His interdisciplinary work in sociology, educational research, and computer science has earned him honors and awards for outstanding service from the American Sociological Association, the American Educational Research Association, and the Association for Computing Machinery.

Dr. Anderson is now an emeritus professor of sociology and is the founder of the Foundation for the Relief and Suffering. Since retiring, web-based compassion and human suffering have been his primary interest. This led to the discovery of indicators of compassion and caring in society that led to the development of a measure known as the Index of Good Societies. Anderson has authored numerous scholarly articles and books in addition to his membership in several professional organizations and continues with these pursuits. He hopes to contribute to the RLS Foundation by focusing on the suffering of those with RLS.

Anderson brings to the board his personal experience with RLS. Although he was diagnosed with RLS over 20 years ago, he suffered from augmentation and struggled to find a healthcare provider that met his needs. After contacting the RLS Foundation he was able to find a physician and receive the appropriate treatment for his RLS, which he states, “transformed my life by giving me freedom from pain and sleeplessness.” Anderson now wishes to give back to the RLS Foundation and the RLS community in return for the help that he received.

Marcia Ball

Marcia Ball was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education/Speech from Westminster College and her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood/Special Education from George Washington University. Ball spent her career as an elementary school teacher, taking on major projects such as redesigning and executing a New Resource Room at Walter Hays Elementary School in Palo Alto, California. Although teaching will always be her passion, she began volunteering after motherhood and has been a dedicated volunteer since—actively giving back to the Detroit community where she resides. In recognition for her work, she has been the recipient of several outstanding volunteer awards, including the Junior League of Detroit’s Adult Well Being Award, for her extraordinary service to the senior community.

Ball explains the impact of volunteering and what she calls the power of a cup of water: “Every person that walks into the front door of the hospital has something on their heart or mind, often a burden they cannot share. When offered a smile and a cold glass of water, I have offered them a very simple gesture which lets them know that someone cares about them. It can make the waiting in the ER seem tolerable, it can calm someone’s anxious spirit and it can soften the blow of hard news to another person. Yes, one cup of ice water is what I have to offer the RLS community. I can make a night seem shorter, calm one as they pace the floor because sleep won’t come, or stop the tears of one who is so frustrated with these legs that won’t stop. I can’t cure RLS, but I can offer a cold cup of water.”

After having RLS for over 30 years, and seeking care from a knowledgeable healthcare provider when her RLS was untreated for at least 10 years, Ball was particularly drawn to the Foundation’s mission to educate the medical community and the general population on RLS. She plans to use the lessons that she has learned from teaching and volunteering to serve the RLS community.

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