NEW YORK, March 8 /PRNewswire/ -- MS Awareness Week March 8-14 is the time for the nation to go orange and move it to end multiple sclerosis, a disease where someone is newly diagnosed every hour of every day. Supported by a Congressional resolution, this year MS Awareness Week and the state of MS research aptly coincide. Move it to create a world free of MS!
Research Helping People Living with MS Move Their Lives Forward
The National MS Society is focused on: stopping MS in its tracks; restoring function and quality of life; and, ending MS forever. In 2009 alone, we funded nearly $40 million to fund 375 research projects worldwide.
It is an incredibly exciting time in the world of MS research with one oral therapy for symptom management just coming to market and one oral therapy for disease management being fast tracked by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with a panel review expected by June. More scientists than ever are working on important MS questions.
Some key highlights include:
- Ampyra (formerly called fampridine), has just come to market, is the first symptom management drug developed specifically to treat MS, the first oral therapy approved by the FDA for MS, and the first distinctly new FDA-approved therapy for MS.
- The first two oral disease modifying drugs, fingolimod and cladribine have gone to the FDA for review. Fingolimod, now called Gilenia, has received a fast track review status from the FDA and a panel hearing is expected by June.
- Smoking, teen obesity, and low levels of Vitamin D have been shown to increase the risk of developing MS, while breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of exacerbations among new mothers.
- Early, small-scale trials are underway or getting started to test the potential of a special type of adult stem cell found in the bone marrow, called mesenchymal stem cells.
National Activities Support MS Awareness Week
Every day of the year is a day for MS awareness, but what makes MS Awareness Week special is that there are millions of people united to raise awareness and make a difference to move us closer to a world free of MS.
National opportunities to join the movement include:
eBay Giving Works: The Society has been chosen to be one of two "featured nonprofits" on the eBay Giving Works homepage during the week. Anyone that buys or sells items on eBay will have the opportunity to donate to the Society during the checkout process. Phil Keoghan, host of CBS' The Amazing Race and Society ambassador has donated several jackets that he has worn on his show, which will be available for auction.
We Keep Moving "Reality Road Show": We Keep Moving is a "reality road show" that will take online viewers into the homes of people living with MS across the country. A road crew of artists living with MS will kick-off their journey during MS Awareness Week and each week will visit someone impacted by MS. The twist? Viewers vote each week to determine where the team goes next! Visit www.wekeepmoving.org and vote today. This initiative is supported in part by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. A satellite media tour featuring the show's host and video producer will launch the odyssey on March 9th.
Times Square "Takeover": Starting next week, Society public service announcements will be running on digital billboards and placed on receptacles throughout Times Square – the crossroads of the world.
Millions of People Affected By MS Are Coming Together Nationwide to Move It
MS Awareness Week began in 2005 and has served as a springboard for communities across the country to band together, take action and tell their stories about how they're 'Moving it'. People are uniting for local advocacy days, volunteering to help raise funds and awareness, and gathering to kick-off Walk MS and Bike MS events.
MS Activists also convened in Washington, D.C. last week to meet with key legislators to advocate for: a $15 million appropriation for MS Research Funding in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs; support for full funding of the Lifespan Respite Care Act; and support for the National MS and Parkinson's Disease Registries Act.
Across the country to build awareness of MS, crowds of volunteers and Society supporters are moving it to "take over" high visibility sites, such as Rockefeller Plaza ; are gearing up for now-you-see-it, now-you-don't Move It! stunts; are getting city buildings to go orange; and are wearing and giving away orange bracelets, bumper stickers, shirts and caps throughout the week.
How You Too Can Move It, Today!
To learn more about MS Awareness Week and what you can do to be a part of the MS movement, visit: www.nationalmssociety.org/msawarenessweek. There visitors will also find profiles of others who are "moving it," a toolkit with downloadable materials for their social networks and the Society's YouTube "move it" channel where they can share their own move it stories.
Joining the thousands of volunteers in the Move It campaign are MS Awareness Week sponsors including Acorda Therapeutics, Bayer HealthCare, Biogen Idec, Clear Channel Communications, Developers Diversified Realty, EMD Serono, Sanofi Aventis, and Westfield.
"MS Awareness Week provides a great opportunity to Move It to end MS," said Joyce Nelson, President and CEO of the National MS Society. "It is also the ideal time to recognize the millions of individuals who are already a part of the movement and each day are making a difference in the lives of people living with MS."
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system, interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the body. Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with the disease. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with more than twice as many women as men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and 2.1 million worldwide.
About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
MS stops people from moving. The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn't. We help each person address the challenges of living with MS. In 2009 alone, through our national office and 50-state network of chapters, we devoted over $132 million to programs that enhanced more than one million lives. To move us closer to a world free of MS, the Society also invested nearly $40 million to support 375 research projects around the world. We are people who want to do something about MS now. Join the movement at www.nationalMSsociety.org.
SOURCE National Multiple Sclerosis Society