May 03, 2002
What does a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis mean? Very simply, it means both shock and hope.
The shock comes from having a potentially disabling disease that has no cure.
The hope comes from knowing that existing MS treatments can reduce the threat of future MS attacks and that MS research is advancing the promise of new treatments.
May is MS Awareness Month -- a month when 80 more Canadians will learn they have multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable and often disabling disease of the central nervous system.
"Canadians have a special reason to be concerned about MS, because this country has one of the highest MS rates in the world. We estimate that 50,000 Canadians have multiple sclerosis," said Dr. William J. McIlroy, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada national medical advisor.
Being diagnosed with MS in 2002 means there are choices of therapies that can reduce the number of MS attacks and possibly slow the development of disability.
"MS research has brought progress in treating and managing MS. Besides the treatments that are available for the most common form of MS, researchers are looking at new approaches including the possible use of bone marrow transplantation as a treatment. There is very real progress in the search for more and better therapies," Dr. McIlroy said.
The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada is a leader in funding MS research. Earlier this year, it announced $3 million in additional funding for 10 research projects and 41 research scholarships. A third of the projects target myelin repair -- an important strategy in actually restoring the ability to walk or see.
Throughout May, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada volunteers are taking part in awareness activities and fund raising events.
On May 8, members of Parliament will receive carnations when they enter the House of Commons for Question Period. This event will launch the 26th annual MS Carnation Campaign, which takes place on Mother's Day Weekend.
The first annual MS Bequest Week takes place the week of May 27. Canadians can learn more about financial planning and how to make a lasting legacy in the fight against MS. For more information, call 1-866-MS-WILLS (679-4557).
For information about local MS Awareness Month activities, contact the nearest MS Society division office at 1-800-268-7582. For more information about MS, call that toll-free number or go to www.mssociety.ca. Donations to MS research can be made on the web site by clicking "Give Now".
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that randomly attacks the central nervous system, affecting the control people have over all parts of their bodies.
Thanks to the generous support of donors, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada funds both MS research and services programs for people with MS and their families.
For further information:
Cindy DesGrosseilliers, National Manager, Communications, (416) 967-3015;
Deanna Groetzinger, Vice-President, Communications, (416) 967-3007
© 2002 Canada NewsWire Ltd