Meet our all-volunteer team
Meet our passionate, dedicated team behind the all volunteer-managed, patient-centered, nonprofit, Myositis Support and Understanding!
You will meet our Board of Directors, Group Administrators, and our Medical Advisors, all who are dedicated to volunteering their time in support of our mission and vision. We are all dedicated to improving the lives of Myositis patients!
Meet the Board of Directors
Jerry Williams, Founder and President
Gerald “Jerry” Williams, diagnosed with Polymyositis in 2003, founded MSU originally as a Facebook support group titled, “Polymyowhat: Understanding Myositis,” in 2010. Jerry is the Founder and President of MSU and also serves as the Executive Director. He is passionate about helping others living with this rare disease. Myositis forced Jerry out of the workplace, where his focus was in finance and analytics, and onto long-term disability. He has since been diagnosed with two additional autoimmune diseases, vasculitis, and Lupus, and finding effective treatments has been a constant challenge.
Through the many health and life challenges Jerry has faced, he has come to believe that we all must be “understanding” and be willing to learn more about each other so that we can live a more positive life. One of his many loves are smiles, and he often reminds those around him to smile and happiness will follow.
Jerry is married to his partner Charlie of 16 years and they are the proud fathers of three Dachshunds. Jerry enjoys reading, writing, and website design and development. Jerry and Charlie also operate a small business with a concentration on website design, graphic design, and computer services, located in Lincoln, Delaware.
Penny Bundy, Treasurer
Penny Bundy was diagnosed with Inclusion Body Myositis in 2015, after 7 years of experiencing symptoms of the disease with no clear diagnosis. In researching the disease, she found and joined an online MSU support group. It was because of Penny’s positive experience with this group that she was excited about joining the MSU team.
When Penny’s two children were both in school, she enrolled in the local community college intending to take a few basic business courses with the goal of starting a freelance photography business. Thanks to an encouraging accounting instructor, she was soon sidetracked from that goal and went on to pursue an accounting degree at university.
Penny’s work background has been varied, from volunteer bookkeeping positions for church, school and community theater, to Staff Accountant for a multi-service healthcare system which employed 5000.
In 2001, Penny and her husband John took an early retirement. They sold their home, purchased a fifth wheel and became full-time RVers. During their time on the road they continued to work, at one time helping open a new Indian casino where John trained the card dealers and Penny helped in establishing the slot audit and accounting department.
In early 2014 Penny and John retired from the road as Penny’s mobility was becoming impaired and getting in and out of the RV was becoming more difficult. They purchased a small home on two acres that they share with their 16-year-old cat, Ralph.
Cynthia Booker, Secretary
Cynthia Booker is a proud native Texan and entertainment production professional. She first learned about myositis when her mother, Sandra, became diagnosed with polymyositis. Wishing to serve others who have been challenged with myositis, she decided to utilize her God-given talents and skills by committing to the MSU board. Cynthia has been blessed to have the opportunity to make her mother proud by earning her MFA in Theatre Design and Technology – Sound Design and Audio Technology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her BFA in Theatre Design and Technology at Baylor University, emphasis in stage management and sound design. Cynthia has been given the opportunity to work in various capacities for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Chippendales, Next Theatre, Southeastern Summer Theatre Institute, WaterTower Theatre, Mills Entertainment, Haven Productions, Greyman Theatre Company, Parkland Theatre, Shakespeare Dallas, and the American Actors Company. After much schooling and touring both nationally and internationally, Cynthia has now settled in Modesto, California as the Assistant Director of Production at Gallo Center for the Arts and makes sure to call and annoy her mother on a daily basis.
Peggy Albertson, Board Member
Peggy Albertson is a sister, mother, grandmother and wife. Her husband Steve has IBM, and it is the progression of his symptoms that brought Peggy to Myositis Support and Understanding.
Peggy is a Hoosier born and raised. She enjoys reading, gardening, and sewing. Her passion for quilting and her gratitude for having four healthy children and four beautiful grandchildren led her to found and act as Coordinator of the Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana Chapter of Project Linus. Under Peggy’s twelve year stewardship, the Chapter made and distributed over 30,000 blankets to children in crisis in Fort Wayne and the surrounding areas.
It is Peggy’s boundless compassion, her ability to organize and work effectively with people of diverse backgrounds, and her optimism and unfailing good nature that will make her a valuable member of the Myositis Support and Understanding team.
Julie Posey, Board Member
Bio coming soon.
Lynn Wilson, Board Member
Lynn comes to the Board with 38 years experience in the petroleum industry working as a petroleum engineer focusing on oil field research, operations training, project management and organizational change. Her career has taken her all over the world, flying over 1.5 million miles to 6 continents, including a year assignment in Hong Kong.
Having been diagnosed with Dermatomyositis in May 2015 at age 69, Lynn has experienced the ups and downs of this disease – from remission 5 months after starting treatment to an acute flare in 2016 that rendered her so weak she could hardly walk. She spent 7 months in physical therapy after severe muscle loss, but is now back in remission and running short distances and doing aerobics. Lynn has an appreciation of the uncertainties of this life-changing disease and respect for all of the myositis warriors out there who approach each day with grace and courage. Her motto for living “Seize the Day” has taken on new meaning with her diagnosis.
Lynn has worked as an Administrator for our MSU support group for almost 2 years, which has given her valuable insight into the issues of our myositis patients. She is hoping to apply her skills to help build MSU into the premier patient-run myositis association in the country.
Lynn lives in a small community south of Houston, Texas, where her husband Jon is the mayor. She continues to spend her retirement traveling with her husband to far off countries. She also travels coast to coast visiting her daughter in Napa, California, and her 4 grandkids in Middletown Springs, Vermont, where she has recently purchased a 1890 Victorian farmhouse.
Beverly Boyarsky, Board Member
Bio coming soon.
Caitlin Ray, Board Member
Bio coming soon.
James “Jim” Doiron, Board Member
Bio coming soon.
Emily A. Filmore, Founding Director, Advisor to the Board
Emily holds a BA in Psychology from Westminster College in Fulton, MO and a Juris Doctor from St. Louis University School of Law, but her career path has been as winding and unpredictable as the Juvenile Dermatomyositis that has gripped her body for 20 years. Combining humor and spirituality, Emily has found a way to make peace with her chronic disease, even celebrating it, grateful for the lessons and blessings it has brought into her life.
Emily has found her passion in using her creativity to help others. Her inspirational book, “The Marvelous Transformation: Living Well with Autoimmune Disease,” is being released in June, 2015. She also writes on the combined topics of spirituality and parenting. She has written the With My Child series of children’s books about family bonding and is involved in the Conversations with God for Parents program by Neale Donald Walsch. She has a new book, by the same name (“Conversations with God for Parents”) being released in Fall 2015 co-authored with Neale Donald Walsch and Laurie Lankins Farley.
Emily shares a beautiful life with her husband, daughter, and nephew. They collaborate to create a humorous and harmonious home of wellness, partnership, love, and peace.
Sandy Block, Board Member Emeritus
Sandy is a founding member of MSU, former Board Vice President and senior administrator of the MSU groups and public information page. Her interest and background in research and writing and as her parents’ healthcare advocate have helped her through her cope with PM and treatment-related issues. She is passionate about helping others become knowledgeable about their health issues and empowered to become their own healthcare advocate.
Sandy left the corporate world in 2008 to become full-time caregiver to her parents for the last years of their lives. Prior to that she worked in the printing, paper, facilities and multifamily housing industries in conference and project management capacities and as a contractor with US Environmental Protection Agency, where she researched and wrote about manufacturing products using recycled materials. She has also been an active volunteer with several organizations.
Sandy has called California, Virginia, Louisiana, Florida, and North Carolina home, and she and her Texas-born husband, Andy, currently live in the Raleigh area. Her two children, three grandchildren and three stepsons live in North Carolina, Oregon, Washington and England, providing lots of travel opportunities.
Sandy continues to be involved with MSU behind the scenes focusing on education, research, writing and patient empowerment.
Meet our Medical Advisory Committee
Dr. Tae Chung, MD
Dr. Tae Hwan Chung is an assistant professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His areas of clinical expertise include neuromuscular disorders and physical medicine and rehabilitation.
With combined training in neuromuscular medicine and in physical medicine and rehabilitation, Dr. Chung is uniquely positioned to provide a wide range of services, including diagnosis of various neuromuscular conditions, electrodiagnostic procedures, neuromuscular pathology, immune treatments and rehabilitative treatments. Clinically, Dr. Chung is particularly interested in rehabilitative treatments and therapeutic exercise of various neuromuscular diseases, especially myositis and other forms of muscle diseases. Dr. Chung runs a multidisciplinary rehabilitation clinic under the Myositis Clinic with the Johns Hopkins neuromuscular rehabilitation team, which he helped develop with physical, occupational and speech therapists, who are dedicated to helping patients with rare neuromuscular diseases. For his research, he investigates the effects of aging on the neuromuscular system in collaboration with his mentors in geriatric medicine and neurology.
Dr. Chung is in the NIH-funded phase of RMSTP (Rehabilitation Medicine Scientist Training Program) from AAP (Association of Academic Physiatrists), and was recently awarded with The Richard S. Materson Education Research Fund (ERF) of the Foundation for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Dr. Chung earned his M.D. from the Catholic University of Korea. He completed his residency at Johns Hopkins and performed a fellowship in neuromuscular medicine at Johns Hopkins.
Vicky Starr, RN, IgCN
We are excited to welcome Vicky Starr as a member of our Medical Advisory committee. We asked Vicky to provide us her thoughts on being a part of MSU and below is her response.
I believe I can bring empowerment and knowledge to the Myositis community. Being a Registered Nurse for over 29 years and a certified IgCN, I believe I am in an excellent position to help the members of Myositis Support and Understanding in a number of ways.
Being actively involved with this disease for many years, I will work with patients, physicians, and other healthcare providers to ensure they gain the knowledge they need when dealing with a rare disease that often does not get the attention it deserves. I have always put patients first so joining MSU was “in the cards” so to speak as MSU is a patient-centered nonprofit organization that was founded on the principles of education, support, and advocacy with a “Knowledge In Action” attitude.
I will work to empower patients to help them understand so they can make informed decisions while also providing them with information available on the latest treatments. I will work to help patients and their families to make educated decisions about their care.
I will also share fact-based information on exercise, laughter, diet, and medications to optimize the health of the family unit.
I am excited to be a part of this new chapter for Myositis Support and Understanding, and I thank them for nominating me to the committee.
Meet the Admins of our Support Groups
Sarah Harrington, MSU Lead Group Admin
Sarah lives in a small town in Massachusetts with her husband of many years. She enjoys spending time with her family and early morning walks with her neighbors. Diagnosed with dermatomyositis January 2014, both skin and muscle involvement, she was able to progress to accomplishing her first 5k October 2014.
Sarah now works part time and is planning an early retirement. Her current title is “IT Architect”, designing applications and business solutions. She wears many hats in her position including team lead and project management.
She is curious about myositis illnesses, having compassion for those who suffer, and an avid cheerleader for wins.
Mary Jane DeLauder, IBM Group Admin
MJ DeLauder was born and raised in Hagerstown MD. After several attempts at obtaining her Nursing degree (interrupted by the birth of her 3 sons and the raising of same), she finally graduated in 1983 in New Jersey with her AA and RN. After several years as a Psych nurse, she moved on to Managed Care for Prudential followed by Occupational nursing at Nabisco.
She was diagnosed with ALS in 1994 after a fall. That was revised (thank you very much) to Polymyositis and later Sporadic Inclusion Body Myositis. The progression has been very slow. She and her husband, Dick, retired to Florida in 2001.
She served on The Myositis Association Board of Directors from 2008-2009. She is adamant about keeping her weight down, exercising and maintaining a positive attitude.
MJ and Dick (her husband and full time Caregiver) have been married for 51 years. They have three sons, three daughter in laws, four grandchildren and one great granddaughter and a one year old black therapy cat named Diva!!. They are very happy with the Florida weather because MJ doesn’t gripe about the boots, and coats and heavy clothing to weigh her down!
Don White, MSU Group Admin
Don completed a BA in psychology at UBC, in Vancouver, BC, in the 1960s as one of the first researchers working with BC killer whales. He spent 30 years as a documentary writer, director, and producer, filmmaker mentor, and communication consultant before returning to university in his sixties. During his second stint in academia, he completed an MSc and is now a PhD candidate focusing on how evolutionary theory is being used to account for human behaviour. Don and his wife moved to Nanaimo, BC early in 2014.
His experience with myositis began when his wife was diagnosed with Dermatomyositis (DM) in the spring of 2016.
Join our email updates and newsletter
Subscribe to our general myositis-related email updates. If you are a member of MSU, you will automatically recieve these updates and there is no need to subscribe here. To register for your free MSU membership and access to The Myositis Community Network, visit UnderstandingMyositis.org/register