15 April 2002
Many people with MS are in fear of 'coming out' about their condition in case it affects their jobs and relationships, says the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
"They are keeping a secret which adds to the stress of living with such an unpredictable illness," said the Society's chief executive, Mike O'Donovan. He was speaking today (Monday 15 April 2002) at the start of national MS Week.
"Diagnosis with MS is a traumatic enough experience without worrying whether your job is secure or a close relationship might come to an end. We need better understanding, encouragement and support to help people with MS to lead fulfilling and often very active lives."
Mr O'Donovan said research into the cause and treatment of the most common neurological disease affecting young adults must be intensified.
"We have heard a lot about the new MS drugs (beta interferons and glatiramer acetate) which the Government has recently agreed should be prescribed on the NHS," he said.
"But these are not cures and they can only help some people with MS. The Society is already committed to £13 million in funding for around 70 research projects in the UK. The drive to find the answer to this devastating disease must be relentless".
He added that the MS Society, which aims to raise an additional £1 million during MS Week, was actively involved in projects concerned with people with MS in the workplace.
The Society runs the national MS freephone helpline - 0808 800 8000 - and a comprehensive information service including the website www.mssociety.org.uk from the MS National Centre in north London. It has 370 voluntarily-run local branches.