Members of Parliament and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada are jointly celebrating May as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Month.
Both parties met in Ottawa April 30-May 2 to kick-off the MS awareness campaign #LifeWithMs.
According to an international survey, it is estimated that one in every 340 Canadians live with MS, constituting the highest rate of MS in the world. The illness affects not only the MS patient, but also his/her family, friends, co-workers, and healthcare team. Because of this, Canadians are invested in raising awareness about the disease, which still has no cure.
“It’s important for those living with MS to share our stories so that our voices are heard,” Lizelle Mendoza, diagnosed with MS in 2007, said in a press release. “Although we’ve come a long way in supporting Canadians living with disabilities, we still have a long road ahead of us,” she said.
“I believe that investing in research can help us get there. Recognizing and supporting the voices of people like myself, people who live with the realities of MS every day, needs to play a role in the health research environment. Having people like me involved in the research process can help us turn that ‘what if’ into ‘when and how’ and bring us closer to a world free of MS,” Mendoza added.
Current laws about accessibility and employment bring challenges to MS Canadian families.
With this in mind, during the three-day meeting, representatives of the MS Society and parliamentarians conferred about the need to secure income, arrange flexible/inclusive employment, invest in comprehensive care/housing, develop reasonably priced treatments, and change accessibility legislation. They also talked about the importance of health charities, patients in the health research scenario, and the necessity for recognition and support of their status.
On April 30, the lawmakers were at a reception to learn more about how the MS Society is speeding up research to improve #LifeWithMs.
To show solidarity toward those affected by MS, today (May 2), MS Society representatives, members of the MS community and party representatives Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre), Kerry Diotte (Edmonton Griesbach), and Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby South) will present carnations to the Members of Parliament as they enter the day’s session in the House of Commons foyer. The formality is known as the annual Carnation Pinning Ceremony.
All month until World MS Day on May 30, the MS Society will continue to highlight the importance of research for the development of new therapies, leading to a better quality of life and hope for a cure.