June 4, 2004
Source: National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Multi-platinum country music star and National MS Society's Ambassador of the Year Clay Walker will be in Washington, D.C. June 4th to support the National MS Society's 2004 Public Policy Conference and heighten awareness about multiple sclerosis (MS) -- a disease that strikes someone new virtually every hour.
"We know that Clay's presence will help rally and inspire our more than 200 delegates to tackle the tough advocacy issues they face when they return home as advocacy reform typically starts at the grass roots level," said Susan Sanabria, vice president Advocacy Programs, National MS Society.
Last year, Walker revealed for the first time publicly his eight-year journey with relapsing-remitting MS and made it his mission to help others living with the disease. His upcoming appearance is not the first time Walker has come to Washington, D.C. to lend his support to the MS cause. He also spoke to members of Congress last year about the need for Medicare coverage of all approved MS therapies.
"Though I certainly never sought recognition for my efforts to raise awareness about MS, being named Ambassador of the Year by the National MS Society was a great honor and made me realize the impact I can have on the MS community," said Walker. "I was shocked last year to learn almost half the people living with MS aren't on therapy. I want to do whatever I can to help people with MS have access to the therapies available because these treatments are the best weapon we have until we find a cure."
Since coming forward last year, Walker has connected with thousands of individuals living with MS by speaking at MS educational seminars, doing TV and radio PSAs to support the MS cause and work of the Society, and helping to raise funds to end the devastating effects of MS.
"Increased funding for MS research is crucial because it not only can help improve the level of wellness for people with MS, but also provides additional inroads to unraveling the mysteries of MS," said Gen. Mike Dugan, president and CEO of the Society. "The more we understand MS, the more opportunity there is to reduce the $20 billion annual economic impact of the disease. The National MS Society and Clay are both dedicated to helping make a difference on those fronts."
Walker has sold more than 8 million albums and recently released his seventh studio album, A Few Questions. The album was Walker's first for RCA Records and debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard country music charts -- the highest debut of his career. With 11 No. 1 singles, five No. 1 videos, and his current single, I Can't Sleep, in the Top 10 on the country music charts, Walker is a major force in the country music field.
"When I was diagnosed, I didn't know if I would be able to perform or play with my children and eight years later, I still do those things," said Walker. "I never let MS stop me from fulfilling my dream of performing. I'm living proof if you take responsibility, MS doesn't have to take away what you love. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercise, and taking a daily injection has worked for me. It's important for others with MS to work with their neurologist to find what works for them. The worst thing you can do is nothing."
Clay Walker began his life in Beaumont, Texas, and was surrounded by
music growing up. He landed his first record deal at 23. Now, he holds
the distinction of being the only artist to have one of his songs included
five years consecutively in Billboard's year-end Top 10 country list. He's
also been one of country's Top 10 grossing touring acts.
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