Nancy Davis Biography
Nancy Davis, one of five children, was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. In 1987 she moved to California and now resides in Los Angeles with her husband and five children. Nancy is an active individual with an incredible zest for life. She skis, plays tennis, has a black belt in karate, exercises, and travels – living her life to the fullest. She is an extremely dedicated philanthropist, jewelry and now clothing designer and author. Most importantly, she is a full-time mother who is devoted to her five children. Nancy was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 33 in 1991. After being told by her doctors that she would be “lucky” to operate a remote control on her TV, she realized she was too young and too busy to let the disease stop her life in its tracks. She was determined to devote her time, relationships and resources to finding a cure. Nancy’s hope, courage and strength continue to inspire her to maintain a vibrant quality of life despite this chronic disease, but most of all, she remains positive, continues to live her life to the fullest, and is tireless in her efforts to finding the cure for MS.
In 1993 she founded Race to Erase MS – an organization whose primary focus is to raise funds for the most cutting-edge, aggressive and promising research in an effort to find a cure for MS.
Also in 1993, Nancy created the Race to Erase MS event – an intimate ski getaway weekend in Aspen, Colorado – that pulled in over $1.3 million for the Foundation. Since its inception, the Race to Erase MS has grown into a spectacular celebrity gala benefit held annually. Over the years she has gained the support of many key individuals in the fashion and entertainment worlds, including Tommy Hilfiger who has a sister living with MS. The annual Race to Erase MS event has raised over $35 million for multiple sclerosis research.
In order to continue to fund cutting edge research efforts, proceeds raised go directly to the foundation’s “Center Without Walls” program. Nancy Davis wanted to build a winning team in the race to erase MS, and the Foundation sought out the best and the brightest throughout the world to bring together different teams of experts to work as a single unit ultimately creating a “Center Without Walls”. The Center is a network of the top MS institutions that have established leading, innovative research programs. They work as a team, constantly communicating, never duplicating. This collaboration of physicians, scientists and clinicians nationwide continuously develop research programs and therapeutic approaches to eradicate MS. It is the hope of her foundation that in addition to combating MS through research in a clinical environment, that an increased awareness will be created by educating the public about this devastating disease.
Funded by Race to Erase MS, the Center Without Walls program (CWW) has provided support that has permitted the medical community to link together multidisciplinary scientific programs and expertise across the country to advance the understanding of the cause of MS and to develop new treatments. The Center is a break-through success because of the vision, insight and flexibility of these extraordinary doctors. The Center’s theme is simple; communication – doctors working together toward a mutual goal. When this goal is reached, all will share in the victory. The Center’s network of the top MS institutions that have established leading, innovative research programs currently include UC San Francisco, Cedars-Sinai, Harvard, Yale, USC, Johns Hopkins and Oregon Health Sciences University. According to Dr. Emmanuelle Waubant, the Director of Center Without Walls located at the University of California at San Francisco, “The Center Without Walls program Nancy Davis created is completely unique as it allows us to share our understanding of environmental and genetic risks for MS, in the context of pathophysiology, immunology, imaging and therapeutics. She has assembled several teams of experts to work together “without walls” and foster training of promising young scientists. This will bring us closer to a cure.”
It is the clear desire of the Center to fund cutting edge research, which will prevent and eventually cure multiple sclerosis. The Center constantly strives to strengthen this revolutionary concept with new approaches to finding the brightest minds in this field. The Center’s Scientific Advisory Board, spearheaded by Dr. Henry McFarland, Scientific Director of the Cumming Foundation, reviews proposals and grants, submitted in standard NIH format. In addition to the regular use of high-technology communication tools, researchers of CWW come together to share scientific accomplishments through monthly telephone conference calls, standard scientific advisory meetings and MS symposiums held twice a year. The doctors communicate on a monthly basis via internet and conference calls to stay connected.
The Center Without Walls program has succeeded tremendously as a result of its constant exchange of information and collaboration. Several new and exciting scientific achievements in the past year have continued to fuel the Center Without Walls program and its commitment to find a cure for multiple sclerosis.
Every year the Race to Erase MS event has a different musical theme to keep it exciting and fresh. The year of 9/11 “Peace and Love to Erase MS” was chosen as the poignant theme of the event. As a thank you gift to generous sponsors and entertainers, Nancy decided to take the peace and love symbol created for the event and turn it into a symbolic jewelry piece. The sentiment of the heart embedded with the peace sign became the launch of a very successful jewelry line now known as “Peace and Love Jewelry by Nancy Davis”. Most of the pieces in the collection subtlety have good luck messages designed within them. Several pieces have also been created by Nancy Davis exclusively for QVC and sold on air to educate the public about multiple sclerosis and help raise additional funds for research.
When Nancy Davis was first diagnosed, there was no known cause or cure to help stop the progression of MS. The most exciting thing today is that there are now nine drugs with FDA approval on the market and more pending approval on the horizon to help fight the symptoms of MS. “For that young person now being diagnosed with MS there are so many options and so many remedies to help stop the progression of MS and there is a real promise that a cure for MS is a reality and will be found in the very near future.”