Genzyme’s Multiple Sclerosis Team Ready to “Rock” and Roll!

Mar 20, 2012 7:00 PM ET
Press Release

(3BL Media) March 20, 2012 - As Genzyme prepares to launch our new Multiple Sclerosis (MS) business unit, the global MS medical team gathered for a three-day summit in Cambridge, Mass. at the end of February. The participants included 120 MS medical directors, managers, and Medical Science Liaisons (MSLs) as well as members from other MS teams, such as market access, risk management, pharmacovigilance, and pharmaco-epidemiology, to name just a few.

On the second day of the meeting – a particularly intense day filled with presentations, strategy sessions, and workshops – the team spent the evening connecting with the MS community. Despite their exhaustion after such a long day, they enthusiastically built 12 rocking chairs and decorated blankets, tote bags, and chair cushions to be given to people with MS.

The meeting attendees divided up into teams of about eight people each, and decided on some unifying design elements to tie all the gift items together. Creative themes included flowers, musical symbols, messages of love and hope, and handwritten sayings in many different languages. All the team members created and signed a gift card along with a team picture, which were given to the MS patient who received their rocking chair.

The rocking chair building event grew out of Genzyme’s relationship with the National MS Society, a patient organization that develops educational materials for patients, health care professionals, and the public; helps patients maximize their quality of life through resources such as home modifications, assistive devices, and at-home care; invests in MS research; and advocates for better public policy. Genzyme has supported the Society and its initiatives for five years.

Darlene Jody, vice president and head of MS Medical Affairs, set the vision and direction for the meeting, and it was her idea to organize an event that would allow meeting attendees to interact with the MS community in a more personal way. Darlene – along with Cam Stankovich, who organized all the meeting logistics, and Peg McCormick from Genzyme’s MS Patient Advocacy department – met with representatives from the Society to come up with an activity to accomplish this goal.

It proved to be difficult to organize a community service event that didn’t require meeting attendees to go off-site, but Meghan Dulac from Genzyme’s Community Relations department suggested working with Caring Capital, an organization that provides all the materials necessary to do a creative on-site project. The Genzyme team customized the rocking chair project so that it uniquely exhibited the Genzyme spirit and met a tangible need for patients.

On the evening of the community event, all their hard work paid off. Before setting out to build and decorate the rocking chairs, the meeting attendees heard a few words from CEO David Meeker; Arlyn White, president and CEO of the Society’s New England chapter; and Marleigh Brown, an MS patient who shared her story of living with MS. The Genzyme medical meeting was the first time Marleigh shared her story of living with MS as a representative of the Society.

“MS is a big part of my life,” Marleigh stated. “But it doesn’t define me.” Her grandmother had MS, and Marleigh recalled that “MS was my grandmother’s only identity to me.” As a little girl, Marleigh saw her grandmother carried into family gatherings because she could no longer walk. Her husband had walked out on her because of the burden of taking care of her. “But my MS is not my grandmother’s MS, and my husband assures me that he is not my grandfather,” Marleigh said. “This is our story, not hers.”

Born in Swampscott, Mass., Marleigh worked in marketing and product management for ten years after college. She has always been a strong advocate for fitness; prior to being diagnosed, she was a competitive triathlete and cyclist. After her diagnosis, she founded a cycling team that has grown into one of the largest teams to participate in the Bike MS: Cape Cod Getaway; it had 80 cyclists last year and has raised over $175,000 for the Society in two years. But her most profound lifelong dream was to be a mother. She has three beautiful children – and she hung an 8x10 photo of them on the podium while she spoke at the medical meeting. This is what defines her, not her MS diagnosis.

At the end of the evening, Marleigh got to choose a rocking chair made by a team of Genzyme employees to bring home. While sitting in it, she will be surrounded by a tangible demonstration of Genzyme’s commitment to those affected by MS.

About Genzyme, a Sanofi Company

Genzyme has pioneered the development and delivery of transformative therapies for patients affected by rare and debilitating diseases for over 30 years. We accomplish our goals through world-class research and with the compassion and commitment of our employees. With a focus on rare diseases and multiple sclerosis, we are dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of the patients and families we serve. That goal guides and inspires us every day. Genzyme's portfolio of transformative therapies, which are marketed in countries around the world, represents groundbreaking and life-saving advances in medicine. As a Sanofi company, Genzyme benefits from the reach and resources of one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, with a shared commitment to improving the lives of patients. Learn more at

About Sanofi

Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, rare diseases, consumer healthcare, emerging markets and animal health. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT:SAN) and in New York (NYSE:SNY).

Sanofi is the holding company of a consolidated group of subsidiaries and operates in the United States as Sanofi US, also referred to as Sanofi-aventis U.S. LLC. For more information on Sanofi US, please visit or call 1-800-981-2491.