Leading up to Canada’s Oct. 21 federal election, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada is urging citizens to write their local candidates, asking for greater support of those living with the neurodegenerative disorder.
Called #MakeMSMatter, the Sept. 4 through Oct. 21 online letter-writing drive is an effort to heighten awareness of multiple sclerosis and its day-to-day, unpredictable and often debilitating effects.
The initiative is part of the organization’s #ActsofGreatness campaign, through which the MS Society hopes will raise $75 million to mobilize the nation to accelerate treatment development, while empowering patients to make the most of their lives.
Canada has one of the highest MS rates in the world. Some 77,000 residents — 1 in every 385 — have the disease, the MS Society reports. An average of 11 individuals — mostly women ages 20 to 49 — are diagnosed daily. The country is also home to some of the world’s leading MS scientists.
“We ask you to send a message to your candidate to act now to #MakeMSMatter, and share why it’s important to you, your family and community,” the effort’s webpage states. “It’s an important way to contribute to the many #ActsofGreatness taking place across the country, and we need your help.”
The goal is to sent out at least 15,000 letters, so that candidates are well-aware of the organization’s priorities. Already more than 11,000 letters have been delivered electronically.
“It’s time our governments understand what it’s like to live with an episodic disability like MS,” Benjamin Davis, a senior vice president with the MS Society of Canada, said in a news release. “By sending a message to our candidates across the country, we’re telling our elected officials that MS matters.”
Please visit this link to find local candidates, and to send a message featuring the organization’s priority issues, including income and employment security, access, and research support.
Those taking part are also asked to use their social platforms — with the hashtag #MakeMSMatter — to encourage others to write to their local candidates as well.
Because 60 percent of the country’s MS patients are unemployed, the MS Society seeks to update the definition of disability to include periods of wellness followed by those of disability.
The organization is also lobbying for adequate disability income, greater access to care and housing, and more collaborative research. “Research is key to new treatments, better quality of life, and ultimately a cure,” the society states on its webpage.