NEW YORK, March 7, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Multiple Sclerosis Society's new awareness campaign will kick off during MS Awareness Week March 7–13 and will engage people across the country to raise awareness, and share experiences and solutions to live their best lives. MS Awareness Week is a time to recognize progress made and to inspire others to take action toward achieving a shared vision of a world free of MS.
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.
The Society's mission is to enable people affected by multiple sclerosis to live their best lives as we stop MS in its tracks, restore what has been lost and end MS forever. Since its inception, the Society has invested more than $900 million to advance MS research and is recognized as the catalyst for all major advancements in MS. Each year, through its comprehensive nationwide network of services, the Society also helps more than one million individuals affected by MS connect to the people, information and resources needed to live their best lives.
In just two decades, MS has moved from being an untreatable disease to one where there are now multiple disease modifying therapy options for those with relapsing MS, the most common form of the disease. Even more new therapies are speeding through the pipeline that are designed to treat all forms of this life-altering disease.
MS Awareness, Educational and Advocacy Efforts Taking Place Across the Country:
- New Public Awareness Campaign—A new multi-channel public service awareness campaign Together We Are Stronger features people impacted by MS and how their fierce resolve has developed solutions that unite us and make us stronger than MS. Stories include surf legend Steve Bettis and his longtime friend and pro-surfer Robert "Wingnut" Weaver, both living with MS, one who uses a wheelchair and the other able to surf, yet riding a wave together through the latest virtual reality technology. This unique campaign was developed pro-bono in partnership with the renowned advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy. The new MS Awareness campaign will be highlighted on electronic billboards in New York City's Times Square, Port Authority, Penn Station, and Macy's Herald Square locations that have been donated by Clear Channel and Branded Cities Network for millions of people to see during the month of March.
- New Website—Visit www.WeAreStrongerThanMS.org, a single dedicated location where you can find diverse, innovative solutions to overcoming the challenges of multiple sclerosis. These solutions will offer strength and inspiration through collective experiences that demonstrate how together we are stronger than MS. Join Shemar Moore from TV's Criminal Minds, extreme sports enthusiast, Wendy Booker, and others, this week and throughout the year in sharing your powerful story and solutions with the MS community in videos, pictures, and words. Every story connects us to each other and to the solutions that defy MS.
- New 'What is MS' Video— The Society has created a new video as a resource for people living with MS and anyone who wants to learn more about MS, including healthcare professionals and media who wish to deepen public awareness and understanding about the disease. The new 3D animation video can be viewed at: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS
- Advocacy with Elected Officials – Through the Society's State Action Days around the country and 25th annual Public Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., MS activists are raising awareness with state legislators and members of Congress and driving change. They are advocating for policies important to people with MS such as research, improved access to medications, Medicaid expansion and financial support for accessible home modifications. State legislatures are also issuing proclamations and Congress will introduce a resolution in recognition of MS Awareness Week.
- New Clinical Fellowships and Research Projects—The Society has just committed $1.5 million to train more doctors in MS specialty care, and is poised to commit over $25 million in promising new MS research projects, fellowships and collaborations worldwide so that people have effective treatment choices and more solutions to the challenges of living with MS. Updates on these clinical fellowships and research grants will be posted on nationalmssociety.org.
- New Integrative Health Care in MS Meeting is an inaugural event hosted by the National MS Society for Society-funded and VA-funded MS Clinical Fellows from across the country, March 31-April 1 in Denver, CO. At the meeting, these young physicians beginning their MS careers will learn how lifestyle and complementary approaches can be effectively integrated with conventional medicine as part of more comprehensive MS care strategies designed to achieve quality of life and optimal wellness for people living with MS.
- Media support for building awareness and understanding about MS throughout the month of March is generating educational coverage across a wide platform of media channels. Some of these include CBS Cares with Aidan Quinn, Lifescript, Everyday Health, Neurology Now, americacookswithchefs.com, and more. Additional details can be found by visiting these respective sites or by going to http://www.nationalMSsociety.org.
- Across the U.S.A. In cities coast-to-coast, people affected by MS are creating awareness and taking action by lighting high-profile buildings and bridges in orange, hosting and attending community events that raise funds to drive MS research, collaborating with legislators to secure lasting changes in public policy, and sharing their stories of life with MS with the public through social media, letters to the editor, and news stories.
Connect and share solutions during MS Awareness Week – March 7-13 – And Beyond:
Just some of the opportunities you will find are:
- Register for Walk MS. Walk MS is the rallying point of the MS Movement and the 2016 season kicks off this week! Each year, more than 315,000 people participate in nearly 550 events taking place across the country. Walk MS brings the community together to be inspired and raise critical funds for research and services to change the world for everyone affected by the disease. Visit www.walkMS.org to learn more and register.
- Inspire and be inspired on social media. View and share images, videos, and stories as you learn about the solutions that have been discovered to overcome the challenges of MS with the hashtag #WeAreStrongerThanMS on the Society's Facebook, Twitter (@mssociety) and Instagram (@mssociety).
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms vary from person to person and range from numbness and tingling, to walking difficulties, fatigue, dizziness, pain, depression, 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 leading to better understanding and 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 2.3 million worldwide.
About the National MS Society
The Society mobilizes people and resources so that everyone affected by multiple sclerosis can live their best lives as we stop MS in its tracks, restore what has been lost and end MS forever. Last year alone, through our comprehensive nationwide network of services, the Society devoted $122.2 million to connect more than one million individuals to the people, information and resources they need. To move closer to a world free of MS, the Society also invested $54 million to support more than 380 new and ongoing research projects around the world. We are united in our collective power to do something about MS now and end this disease forever. Learn more at www.nationalMSsociety.org.
SOURCE National Multiple Sclerosis Society