Reflecting on Two Years of Progress: A Farewell Message from the Immediate Past President

Reflecting on Two Years of Progress: A Farewell Message from the Immediate Past President of the National CMV Foundation

Author: Dr. Megan Pesch
Dear Supporters, Advocates, and Friends,

As my term as President of the National CMV Foundation comes to an end, I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude and pride for the incredible journey we have undertaken together over the past year. Serving at the helm of this remarkable organization has been both an honor and a privilege, and I am humbled when I reflect on the transformative accomplishments that we, as a united community, have achieved during this relatively brief time.

Elevating Awareness: Shaping Minds and Changing Lives: Our collective efforts to raise awareness about congenital cytomegalovirus (cCMV) have been nothing short of extraordinary. Through targeted campaigns, educational initiatives, and strategic collaborations, we have succeeded in changing the narrative surrounding congenital CMV. People are taking notice! From social media campaigns to informative webinars, collaborations, and blog posts, our messages have reached thousands. Pieces about congenital CMV, featuring members of our Scientific Advisory Committee and parents from our community have been featured by major news outlets. Not only does this increase awareness among people who may be at risk of having a child with congenital CMV, but it also fosters a more informed and supportive environment for those affected by this condition.
Building a Supportive Network: Fostering Community Engagement: One of our aims has always been to build a community that advocates to #StopCMV and also provides support and understanding to individuals and families affected by CMV. We have been fortunate the grow our network of CMV Community Alliance Partners from other non-profits to industry collaborators. I would like to highlight one group in particular, our CMV Community Alliance Chairs (CCAs). The CCA network represents 22 states and is comprised of motivated and fierce CMV advocates who are determined to make a difference. The CCAs have hosted numerous events, from in-person parent meetups to educational workshops, that have created spaces where experiences are shared, insights are gained, and solace is found. They inspire me on a daily basis with their commitment to spreading the word about congenital CMV, sharing their stories and fundraising so we can keep doing this important work together. I am thankful for the sense of unity and strength that our community has cultivated.
Advocacy Achievements: Influencing Policy for Positive Change: Our advocacy work has been instrumental in bringing about policy changes that directly impact those at risk of cCMV and also those affected by cCMV. Through collaborations with lawmakers, healthcare professionals, and advocacy groups, we have successfully influenced legislation focused on screening, research funding, and improved healthcare practices. These changes will have a lasting impact on the lives of many, and I am confident in the Foundation's continued advocacy efforts.
Advancing Research Initiatives: A Commitment to Scientific Progress: Our commitment to advancing the science surrounding CMV has been evident through our support of critical research initiatives. By supporting research initiatives such as the NIH's CMV Vaccine Workshop this year and fostering collaboration among researchers and clinicians, we have contributed to the growing body of knowledge surrounding CMV. I am hopeful that the insights gained will pave the way for improved diagnostic tools, treatment options, and preventive measures including vaccines.
Fundraising Triumphs: Fueling Future Success: The financial support we've garnered over the past three years has been crucial in achieving our multifaceted mission. Through individual donations, corporate partnerships, and community-driven events, we have secured the funds necessary to expand our reach, invest in research, and provide essential support services to those in need. People have run marathons, biked across the country, hosted Pilates classes, and not to mention community walks and runs under our Compete for CMV series. The generosity of our supporters is a testament to the belief in our cause and the positive impact we can collectively make. This organization was started by CMV-parents and continues to be run largely by CMV-parents. It has always been a source of pride that our donations and funding comes primarily from individual donations too.
As my term concludes, I am confident that the National CMV Foundation is well-positioned for continued success under the new leadership of Mary Uran. I will remain involved on the Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Committee – I’m not going very far!  The journey to end pregnancy loss, childhood death and disability caused by CMV is ongoing, yet I can confidently say that we are closer than we were last year. I am excited to see the foundation's impact grow in the years ahead.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your unwavering support, dedication, and passion. Together, we have made a difference, and I look forward to witnessing the continued success of the National CMV Foundation.

With gratitude and best wishes,

Megan Pesch, MD, MS
Immediate Past President
National CMV Foundation