By US Daily Review.
Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the body. Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with the disease. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with more than twice as many women as men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and 2.1 million worldwide.
Multiple sclerosis is a life altering disease that affects each person in a unique and different way. More than 2.1 million people worldwide live with MS, which is why demonstrating the power and importance of the global MS movement is critical on World MS Day, today — May 30.
World MS Day is a worldwide collaborative awareness campaign taking place in more than 70 countries. The campaign builds understanding of multiple sclerosis, an often disabling disease of the central nervous system which interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the body. Its hallmark is unpredictability and its symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis.
Central to the campaign are multi-media awareness efforts stretching around the globe that illustrate what living with MS means, including the opportunity for people affected by MS to create digital postcards that share what life with MS means to them. Conversations will be started around these experiences and powerful stories showcased on the “1000 Faces of MS,” an interactive website that will be launched on World MS Day. For news and pictures of World MS Day activities around the world, see www.worldmsday.org.
Leveraging the messaging of the global World MS Day campaign, the National MS Society is also encouraging those who would like be a part of creating a world free of MS to visit www.MSconnection.org to give what you know about what MS means to the hundreds of thousands of people living with its daily challenges here in the U.S.
Other creative efforts supporting and building on World MS Day are:
- The launch of the multi-media “MS Kills Connection > < Connection Kills MS” public awareness and education campaign. MS destroys connection, disrupts signals, divides minds from bodies, pulls us apart from our lives and away from each other. Therefore it is only fitting that connection would be its greatest enemy. As more connections form, more questions can lead to more answers and more understanding to more resources. When more people share what they know, it results in better lives. Such connections have already helped move MS in less than two decades from being an untreatable disease to one for which there are at least eight treatment options for those with relapsing MS, the most common form of the disease. Created pro bono by the renowned agency Wieden+Kennedy in collaboration with the National MS Society, this campaign is designed to increase awareness about MS, its impact on people’s lives, and the need to get involved.
- The establishment of the International Progressive Collaborative to expedite the development of effective disease modifying and symptom management therapies for progressive forms of multiple sclerosis. Currently, there are few treatment options for those with progressive forms of the disease, where the effects of MS progressively worsen over time. The global MS community is committed to finding solutions to address the complexity of progressive MS. Research priorities have been identified and will be tackled with a multi-disciplinary approach to maximize resources and knowledge that will drive new therapies for people living with MS.
- A Live Community Chat will be hosted on June 18th focused on progressive MS building on a live webcast on the same topic sponsored by the Society on May 23, now posted on the Society’s website. Visit MSconnection.org to learn more and to submit questions to Dr. Timothy Coetzee, Chief Research Officer at the Society, and Dr. Peter Calabresi, M.D., Professor of Neurology, and Director of the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis Center.
- Everyday Matters, a collaborative project between the Society and Genzyme, a Sanofi company, will launch on World MS Day. The interactive national program will draw on practical and scientific applications of positive psychology to engage and inspire the MS community by featuring stories of real people affected by MS who are seeking to overcome a particular “everyday” challenge or attain a personal goal. Participant stories will be featured on a dedicated interactive website – www.everydayMSmatters.org Everyday Matters will also offer free resources and strategies designed to enhance the outlook and overall well-being of those living with or affected by MS. As part of the program’s focus on positive psychology, it will team a select group of individuals with prominent psychology expert and former Harvard University lecturer Shawn Achor with Kristen Adams, a mom and Emmy-award winning producer living with MS, and Michelle Clos, a life coach certified by the International Coach Federation who too is living with MS. They will work hand-in-hand to map out strategies for achieving a personal goal or overcoming a challenge. The MS community can follow and learn from these stories.
- Whether you volunteer, bike, walk, advocate, educate, support – every action is a way of moving us closer to a world without multiple sclerosis and shows your commitment to the MS movement. It also helps to motivate millions of people who want to, and can, do something about MS now.