After a four-year stint as the Lakeland regional director for the MS Society of Canada - her second run with the organization - Johanna Green is set to depart the Border City come September.
“It’s been a monumentally difficult decision for me to leave a city that I’ve called home for nearly a decade and a community of people living with MS, who inspire me each and every day and have given my life meaning that I never thought I would have to this degree,” said Green.
Although she’ll be leaving behind Lloydminster, Green will be moving closer to the fight against MS. She’ll be returning to Edmonton, her hometown, to become the MS Society’s new northern regional director.
In her new title, Green will retain ties to the Lloydminster chapter and forge new ones with chapters in Edmonton, St. Albert, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray and the other areas in the organization’s northern region.
“An opportunity that I’m honoured by, humbled by, a little bit intimidated by, but I’ve learned in life that it’s important to do the things that scare us from time to time and to pull ourselves out of a comfort zone and to challenge ourselves to grow and to become more,” Green said.
The position, she added, will allow her to continue facilitating advancements for people living with MS, only on a larger scale.
Green’s first tenure with the MS Society began in the fall of 2006 after she successfully applied for a contract job to co-ordinate the local MS Walk.
“The rest, as they say, is history. Since that time, my life has been touched by so many people living with MS,” she said. “I’m proud to call so many my dear friends now.”
Green wound up staying on with the chapter until late-2010, when she moved to White City, Sask. for a communications position with Canadian Blood Services. But it didn’t take long for her to turn back to the Border City.
“Being away from it really made me realize how much I missed the interactions with the people, the relationships with these amazing people fighting MS every single day,” said Green.
One year later, she was back in Lloydminster and back in the MS Society’s offices. Since returning in late 2011, Green has served as the organization’s Lakeland regional director and has spearheaded numerous fundraising and public awareness efforts, including the annual MS Walk.
Over her time with the Lloydminster affiliate, which totals eight years, Green has played a major role in expanding the chapter’s programs and services, as well as the community’s understanding of the disease that affects about 100,000 Canadians.
“We see more and more people coming through our doors each and every day. And while that is tragic in a sense, in that it means more people are being diagnosed, they’re reaching out,” she said.
“The first step for us in making strides in the fight against MS is making people aware what MS is. It is the most common disease, neurologically, in Canada and affects more people in Canada than anywhere else in the world.”
Green’s final date with the Lloydminster chapter is yet to be determined and she says that she’ll hire her replacement before riding the Trans-Canada Highway home. The MS Society has already begun its search.