Canada’s MS Walk Returns for Awareness Month

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by Mary Chapman |

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The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada‘s (MSSC) MS Walk fundraiser is still on for this month — May is MS Awareness Month in Canada — although in an altered form due to the pandemic.

The annual nationwide community-driven event raises funds and MS awareness to help battle the neurodegenerative disorder. Since in-person MSSC events are out this year, supporters are encouraged to participate in MS Walk in their own communities and in the form of their choosing. For example, participants can walk around their backyard, stroll around the block, or set out on a hiking trail.

“When you know that you are part of a community, where tens of thousands of people walk with you, it fills you with hope,” Becky Money, a Canada resident and MS patient, said in a press release. “The powerful message here is that we are stronger together. We are not alone, and we are all MS warriors — whether you are fighting for yourself or someone you love.”

To help enliven participants’ walks, the organization this year is offering Team MS Party Packs that include event decorations such as balloons and streamers. And at noon (ET) on May 30, World MS Day, the community will come together for a live-stream rally.

Funds raised through MS Walk will support the MS Society’s efforts to advance treatment and care, enhance patients’ well-being, understand and stop MS progression, and prevent disease onset.

“The MS Walk is a meaningful way for communities across the country to come together to show support, spread awareness, and raise funds,” said Becky Mitts, senior director, community fundraising, MS Society of Canada. “No person living with multiple sclerosis should ever have to walk alone.”

Canada has one of the world’s highest rates of MS. About one in every 400 Canada residents have MS, and 12 Canadians are diagnosed every day. In that country, the disease is the most common among young adults. In fact, 60% of adults who have MS are 20 to 49 years old.

While MS does not run in families, genetic factors may predispose people to the disease either by itself or in combination with environmental factors or infections. Also, the disease is more prevalent is some geographical regions than others. In addition to southern Canada, countries in northern Europe, the northern part of the U.S., southern Australia, and New Zealand have the highest prevalence.

The United States observes MS Awareness Month each March. This year, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America offered a range of activities that focused on the mind-body connection.