The National Multiple Sclerosis Society recently honored several admirable MS advocates and leaders during the annual NMSS Ambassadors Ball, held in Washington, D.C., to benefit local MS patients and research initiatives. The upscale black-tie evening brought together some of the most accomplished industry leaders and celebrities at the Georgetown Ritz Carlton. Since its inception, the National MS Society has used events such as these, as well as grass-roots efforts, to raise over $18 million for the society and its beneficiaries.
One of the event’s honorees was Alabama’s 6th district representative, Rep. Spenser Bachus. He and his wife have devoted years of advocacy to the local Alabama-Mississippi MS chapter. Rep. Bachus will be retiring from congress after the conclusion of his term this December 2014, after 6 consecutive terms since 1993.
Other key honorees were Congressman John Dingell from Michigan, Congressman Henry Waxman from California, Senator Mike Johanns from Nebraska, and Tom Kuhn of the Edison Electric Institute.
One of the key objectives of those in the MS community, in addition to fundraising, is raising awareness for the disease as well. While it is important that the public is educated about MS, gaining the attention and support of state and federal lawmakers is also essential, as it allows for increased support from government resources.
MS is a genetic, autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack the protective myelin sheath of nerve cells, causing a progressive decline in sensory-motor transmission. Today, it is estimated to affect over 400,000 people in the US and 2.5 million worldwide.
In other MS news, Biogen Idec, Inc. recently received US Food & Drug Administration approval for an injectable relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis treatment, Plegridy. The company’s spokeswoman, Kate Niazi-Sai, revealed last Friday that a year’s worth of Plegridy, a longer lasting formulation, will cost $62,036.