Sunday February 25
11:08 PM ET
By The Associated Press, Jackson R. Carter Sylvia Lawry Andrew Lynch Kirk
NEW YORK (AP) - Sylvia Lawry, founder of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and a lifelong activist on research and public policy related to the disease, died Saturday of heart and respiratory disease. She was 85.
Lawry's younger brother suffered from MS. When a cure for him could not be found, she placed a classified ad in The New York Times in 1945 that read: ``Multiple Sclerosis. Will anyone recovered from it please communicate with patient.''
She got 50 replies from people who had the disease, but all of them were as desperate for information. In 1946, Lawry brought together 20 research scientists to found the Association for Advancement of Research in Multiple Sclerosis. A year later, the organization was renamed the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
In 1967, Lawry founded the International Federation of MS Societies, to coordinate groups for researchers, patients and their families around the world. Today there are 38 MS societies in other countries.
Ms. Lawry served as executive director of the National MS Society until 1982 and was secretary of the International Federation of MS Societies until 1997, when she formally retired.