diane tower, chair
Diane was diagnosed with MG 16 years ago, and brings passion and commitment to her role as chair of mgMN. She was secretary of the MGFA Minnesota chapter and has been a support group member for 15 years. "I hope to reach out to more people locally who have MG," she says. "I am looking for ways to identify, reach out to, and provide support to everyone who has this condition. I am especially interested in expanding our support group network and developing new strategies that meet the needs of young people with MG."
Dan formato, vice chair
When Dan's wife was diagnosed with MG in 1998, they read all the information they could find about MG. They attended a support group in Nevada, where they spent winters. Upon returning to Minnesota, they joined the Twin Cities support group, where they have met many people, and made friends. They've learned from others about treatments and medications used to treat MG and maintain a quality of life. "I serve on the board because I want to further the effort to share MG information across the state," he says. During his career, Dan worked in the public sector as a city fire chief and emergency manager. He has served on a number of nonprofit boards.
Vicki Engelen, secretary
When her mother was diagnosed with MG in 2004, Vicki found information online about the MG support group in the Twin Cities. "We felt right at home at the support group and were relieved to hear firsthand from others with MG that the disease can most often be managed," she says. "My sister and I gained insights as family members, and all three of us enjoyed the people we met. I want to help the new organization get off the ground and running smoothly." Vicki has served on other nonprofit boards, and has been a corporate communications freelance writer and editor for more than 20 years.
torri johnson, treasurer
In 2016, Torri retired from Xcel Energy following 36 years in various financial roles, including manager, Budget and Finance, and manager, Billing Products and Services. She has also served as treasurer for her son's high school soccer team and has supported several nonprofit groups related to her son's hockey and baseball teams. Torri's mother was diagnosed with MG in 2014, and the two of them are active in the Twin Cities support group. "I joined the board in order to work with great people to help make this new organization a success in its mission," she says.
Barb corner, communication chair
Barb was diagnosed with MG more than 50 years ago. "I told my parents I would not let this rare disease stop me, and it hasn't," she says. Barb went on to obtain her bachelor's and master's degrees and had a 33-year career as a teacher. She and her husband have three grown children, seven grandchildren and one great grandchild. Barb began attending annual meetings of the state's MGFA chapter in 1990. A couple years later, she started (and still leads) the Mid-Minnesota support group. Barb started a lending library for people with MG in 1995, and chaired the MGFA state chapter for more than a decade.
shirley kramer, publicity chair
When her sister, Diane, was diagnosed with MG, Shirley was ready to offer her love and support. It also felt natural to become involved in advocacy and the MG organization. Shirley is the mother of three sons (now adults), including a set of twins who have medical and developmental disabilities. During her children's early years, Shirley worked as an advocate and consultant on childhood developmental disabilities. In that capacity, she served on many county, state and federal committees. "I learned early on that in order to be effective it was important to understand the system's structure," she says. "Yet I continue to be amazed by the strength and resilience of the human spirit."
lianne anderson, conference facilities chair
Lianne has had MG since 1975. She began serving on the MGFA Minnesota chapter board of directors in the late 1970s, and chaired the Twin Cities support group since its inception. She also served as chair of fundraising, with efforts bringing in tens of thousands of dollars for the chapter. Lianne and her mother, Millie, established the Anderson Fund in honor of her late father, Irv. Before retiring from the University of Minnesota, Lianne worked in the arts and communications, and she continues to pursue these interests as possible.