Help Support World MS Day - May 26, 2010; Join With 62 Countries to Mobilize the Global MS Movement

May 26, 2010, 06:07 ET from National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Global Survey Shows that Economic Impact of MS in US Alone is $28 Billion Annually

R&B Legend Walter Williams of The O'Jays Announces He Has MS and Joins Friends & Supporters of the MS Movement to Raise Awareness

NEW YORK, May 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This year on May 26, the world unites once more in the MS movement to highlight the international effects of multiple sclerosis (MS). Organized by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) with the help of MS Societies in 62 countries, including the United States and Canada, the day will be marked by more than 200 events around the world in a concerted effort to build awareness for MS and enhance collaboration that will bring us closer to a world free of multiple sclerosis.

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The focus of World MS Day is on the needs of people with multiple sclerosis, the economic impact of MS, and the urgent need for more research to eradicate the disease.  It encourages people affected by MS worldwide to think globally and act locally coming together to take positive action in the MS movement by sharing experiences, by donating time and funds to both support MS programs that will help people with MS move forward with their lives and by spurring MS research to end the disease.

This year to bring home the importance of what an MS diagnosis can mean, which occurs hourly in the US, the MSIF initiated the first global survey covering 125 countries and examining the "Global Impact of Multiple Sclerosis."  Estimates among the 15 nations tracking such data, indicate that the average annual costs of MS to the person affected and society as a whole to be $41,335, and most currently in the US, $69,118.  Based on an MS population in the U.S. of 400,000 that would mean the total yearly impact of MS in the United States is $28 billion.  Loss of employment, or early retirement, was considered to be the single largest factor contributing to this financial cost.

MS is found in every country in the world, and is one of the most common neurological diseases amongst people in their 20s and 30s. It is a prime of life disease striking just when people are building their careers and families.  MS affects at least twice as many women as men and up to 60% of people diagnosed with MS will experience long-term disability. Though continuing medical breakthroughs have brought partially effective treatment to many people with MS, there is still no cure.  

How to Get Involved in  World MS Day

Think globally and act locally by:

  • Registering at
  • Volunteering at your local Society chapter
  • Text MSAWARE to 20222 to donate $5 to the National MS Society

"World MS Day is so important because it reinforces that MS is a global disease, which demands global awareness, a global movement and global action," said Joyce Nelson, President and CEO of the U.S. National MS Society.


Names You Know

Walter Williams, living legend and co-founder of the hit R&B group The O'Jays has chosen World MS Day to announce that he is a part of the global MS Movement and has been successfully living and working with MS, thanks in large part to the help of disease modifying therapies, for more than 25 years. Just some of The O'Jays hit songs include "Love Train," "Lovin' You," and "For the Love Of Money."  Walter was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

To tie into this heartfelt message by Walter Williams to give hope and encouragement to those living with MS, and with the assistance of Clear Channel Communications, the Society developed a set of radio public service announcement to reach out to African Americans and to Hispanics who are often under diagnosed and under served.

Alessandra AmbrosioVictoria's Secret Super model has recorded a special message in support of World MS Day in honor of her dad who has multiple sclerosis.

Clay Walker – country music star is doing a live Twitter Q&A 7PM, EST. Tweet your questions to @ClayWalker using #WorldMSDay hash tag (

Milind Soman - Bollywood actor/model will be running along the Great Wall of China

Research Advances

MS Stem Cell Research

Researchers, working with a panel of people impacted by MS, pave the way for the first coordinated international approach to MS stem cell research by publishing a consensus guide on the future of stem cell transplantation research which establishes a coordinated global approach to speed research, the development of potential therapies, and improve patient access to stem cell clinical trials.  

Small-scale trials of stem cells, such as adult mesenchymal stem cells (from bone marrow and other bodily tissues), are underway:

CCSVI Research

Coordinating and leveraging the resources available through the worldwide network of MS Societies, an international review panel is meeting to determine initial CCSVI grants to be announced on June 14th:

Fast Forward

The Society's subsidiary devoted to bridging the gap between research and drug development has announced funding for new biotech companies -- Canbex Therapeutics, London for the development of treatment for spasticity and Five Prime Therapeutics, Inc. in San Francisco for pre-clinical testing of biological molecule.

Campaigns To Follow

WPT® Texas Hold 'Em Poker on Facebook, the most popular international poker brand is now available on the Facebook platform as a free-to-play game developed by FunClick.  They are offering a two-week Chips for Charity promotion to support MS research. For details visit To become a fan of WPT Texas Hold 'Em Poker please visit or follow @PlayWPT on Twitter.

We Keep Moving culminates its 10-week reality road trip across America where it chronicled the stories of people living with MS who are moving their lives forward despite challenges.  The unique interactive documentary is told by a creative team living with MS themselves.  Each week, visitors to the site voted to determine the film crew's weekly destination.  In 10 weeks the crew crisscrossed the country and traveled well over 100,000 miles to tell the stories of people living with MS:

From Zurich To Venice, a group of 15 international cyclists led by the renowned art dealer Nick Maclean are bicycling from Zurich to Venice in support of World MS Day to raise funds for MS research, in particular the neuro-repair project sponsored by the Society at Johns Hopkins.  They've already raised several hundred thousand dollars.

In Other Parts of the World

The rock group U2 has lent support to the goals of World MS Day by donating the use of their song "Beautiful Day" as the anthem for the global MS campaign film.

In Australia – there will be groups of people wearing red lipstick encouraging people to "Kiss goodbye to MS."

In CanadaSupporters are being asked to host MS Global Dinner parties to help fund MS research; a special teleconference is being held to give participants an opportunity to learn more about MS research; and an on-line advocacy campaign is underway to improve income security for people living with MS

In Chile – There will be volunteers handing out green apples, the symbol of their Society.

In DenmarkThere will be a cross country tour featuring "Researcher in a Box".

In GermanyThere will be a special concert, a showing of the World MS Day film at nearly 1,500 locations across the country, and a cycling event.

In Turkey – There will be an exhibition of painting by people living with MS, a cycling event, a special concert, and a day long conference on MS.

The following resources are available:

World MS Day initiatives are taking place in the following countries:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, UK, Uruguay, USA.

About the U.S. National Multiple Sclerosis Society

MS stops people from moving.  The National MS Society exists to make sure it doesn't.  The Society addresses the challenges of each person affected by MS by funding cutting edge research, driving change through advocacy, facilitating professional education, collaborating with MS organizations around the world, and providing programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward.  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.   To learn more about multiple sclerosis and the service programs the Society offers visit

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 body.   Every hour in the United States, someone is newly diagnosed with MS.  Symptoms range from reduced or lost mobility to 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 at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease.  MS affects more than 400,000 people in the U.S., and 2.1 million worldwide.  

SOURCE National Multiple Sclerosis Society