More than 700 women and men attended the first Women Against Multiple Sclerosis (WAMS) luncheon on Tuesday, July 24 at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. The luncheon, presented by the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, raised $181,000.
"We are expecting additional donations from people who attended the event and who are interested in supporting our worthy cause," said Jan Lennon, WAMS chairwoman. All proceeds will benefit gender-based research on multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases.
Governor Scott McCallum kicked off the luncheon. Author and columnist, Jacquelyn Mitchard, gave the keynote address on the urgency of finding a cure for multiple sclerosis. Lorri Lobeck, M.D., associate professor of neurology, at Froedert and Medical College Multiple Sclerosis Clinic spoke on gender research. The event was organized by Wisconsin Chapter volunteers including Jan Lennon, chairwoman; Sue Darrow, steering committee chairwoman; Mary Ellen Stanek, chairwoman of corporate giving; and table captain co-chairwomen Pam Muma and Susan Wilkey.
"The goal of the Women Against MS Initiative is to not only raise funds for gender-focused research, but to also empower women to take the lead in finding a cure for MS," said Colleen G. Kalt, Wisconsin Chapter president and CEO. One woman, Sylvia Lawry, founded the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in 1946. In 1947 under her leadership, the National MS Society supported its first three research projects and chartered its first two chapters. Since that time the Society has invested $320 million in research investigations and has grown to 135 chapters, branches and divisions. "Today, we are still guided by Sylvia Lawry's vision to end the devastating effects of MS. She is truly an example of how women have the power to bring about change," Kalt added.
Autoimmune diseases - in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues - include rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and many other diseases. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is also thought to be an autoimmune disease. While much remains unknown about MS, researchers do know that MS and other autoimmune diseases affect more women than men. Last February, the National MS Society and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) announced a first-ever multi-million dollar initiative to fund research on "Sex-based Differences in the Immune Response."
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. People with MS are generally diagnosed in young adulthood, just as they are beginning a family and/or career. Symptoms can include severe fatigue, muscle weakness, impaired vision, numbness, and sometimes paralysis or blindness. These symptoms may come and go without warning or pattern. The cause and cure for MS are unknown, but advances in research and treatment are giving hope to those affected by the disease.
The National MS Society will spend an estimated $30 million this year to support over 300 MS research investigations. The Society has committed $20 million to fund four targeted areas of research over the next five years. The four targeted areas comprise the Targeted Research Initiatives and include genetics, gender differences, the MS lesion project, and the MS longitudinal database. The Wisconsin Chapter of the National MS Society has made a $1 million pledge over the next five years towards the targeted research initiatives. This pledge is over and above the Chapter's usual research commitment.
The National MS Society recommends that people with the most common form of MS consult with their doctor as soon as possible about taking Avonex, Betaseron or Copaxone. Experts in the management of MS agree that these three medications may delay or reduce future disability in many people with MS.
For more information on gender-focused
research or other targeted research areas, the Society, or MS, please call
the Wisconsin Chapter at (262) 547-8999 or 1-800-FIGHT MS (1-800-344-4867).
Visit us on the Internet at http://www.nationalmssociety.org.
© Copyright 2000 The Dunn County
© Copyright 2000 The Dunn County News