National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF) today honored long-time volunteer Toni Kay Mangskau with the Donna Guinn Volunteer Award in recognition of her inspiring advocacy efforts.
Mangskau’s advocacy work began in 2003, when her son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. While home-schooling him for three years, her daughter struggled with chemical dependency and mental health issues.
“With both of my children, I struggled to get the support they needed from the school and their doctors. To make matters even more frustrating, my insurance wasn’t helping cover medical treatment costs. I was at a loss,” said Mangskau. “I felt I needed to pick which child I could help as I was a single mom, working part-time, no child support and no cash reserve.”
Galvanized by the injustices she found around her, Mangskau found her voice first in political campaigns. She has advocated on behalf of health care and caregiving issues, along with community corrections and racial justice.
“Toni Kay will connect with local leaders and policymakers, but she really has a unique ability to reach people with limited resources, like those who are unsheltered or in recovery,” said Rebecca Kirch, NPAF executive vice president of policy and programs. “She understands how unjust structures can hurt people who need help. Her efforts help to restore hope within her community and promote the well-being of patients and caregivers far beyond it.”
As part of the volunteer advisory group, Mangskau counsels NPAF campaigns and initiatives ahead of publication and dissemination. She serves as a patient partner for Patient Insight Congress, supporting research initiatives. Notably, she regularly hosts listening sessions, workshops and table events throughout the year focused on NPAF campaign resources and PAF services. Most recently, she organized a free community event, called Caring Conversations: Exploring Resources and Caregiving in our Community, bringing together different community partners to raise awareness of available resources and opportunities to co-develop solutions to address caregiving challenges.
“I wouldn’t have wished the struggles I’ve experienced for any other person. Let’s learn from people’s experiences and create positive changes for future caregivers,” said Mangskau. “Years back, I thought I was drowning in my struggle as a caregiver. I didn’t know if there was any bridge to carry me across the flood waters. I know now there are people who will lend their support and provide safe passage for future caregivers. I am so grateful.”
Mangskau is an active volunteer with the National Patient Advocate Foundation, AARP, Age Friendly Olmsted County, ISAIAH, Three Rivers Restorative Justice, her church, and her Neighborhood Association’s Safety, Security and Wellness committee.
National Patient Advocate Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to amplifying the voices of patients and advocating for better access to affordable, equitable, quality care. As the advocacy affiliate of the Patient Advocate Foundation, NPAF provides educational resources to help patients advocate for themselves and make informed, personalized health care decisions.
The Donna Guinn Volunteer Award recognizes an outstanding individual who makes a positive impact on her community and is dedicated to lifting up patient and caregiver voices to improve how we all experience health care.