Spotlight on Multiple Sclerosis

Apr 19, 2024

This year’s Federated Health Charities campaign runs from April 1 to June 28 and we are highlighting each of our 21 agencies during that time.

Over the last 76 years, the MS Canada has invested more than $200 million in MS research, putting Canada at the forefront of MS research worldwide. Research sponsored by the MS Canada has been essential in developing new treatments and improving our understanding of the disease. However, there is still no cure.

The work of the MS Canada is particularly important in Canada as the country has one of the highest rates of MS in the world. There are nearly 100,000 people diagnosed with MS living in Canada today, and nearly 1/3 of those people live in Ontario.

Collage of images related to MS Canada. Their logo is in the middle.

What is MS?

MS is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system by damaging the coating that protects the nerves. This damage disrupts the ability of the nerves to send impulses to and from the brain and may damage the nerves themselves. This can result in a wide variety of symptoms that people with MS may or may not experience, depending on what part or parts of the central nervous system are affected. This makes MS a difficult disease to manage, not just from a medical perspective but for the person living with the disease – no doctor can tell you exactly what’s going to happen.  

MS is sometimes described as a disease ‘of the young’ because it is typically diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 49 just when people are starting careers and families and building a life.

MS Canada’s Mission and Goals

Mission

To connect and empower the MS Community to create positive change

Vision

A world free of MS

Goals

  • Advance treatment and care
  • Enhance well-being by advocating for people with the disease and providing them with support
  • Understand and halt disease progression
  • Prevent MS

Eric’s MS Story

I wasn’t officially diagnosed with MS until the fall of 1996. It was a stressful time in my life due to multiple factors. I often wonder if the stress of all these life changes contributed to my diagnosis. 

MS can bring a lot of different types of losses in one’s life. As my MS progressed, I felt ‘less of a man’ in that I went from enjoying various sports and activities, to watching sports on television.  I’m also no longer able to drive. 

I’ve faced cognitive decline and mobility issues, but I choose to maintain a positive attitude. I’ve learned to keep my head up, straighten my posture, and politely reassure others that I’m okay to get through most situations. I walk with a cane or use two walking sticks for stability; it’s a different reality, but life goes on It isn’t what it used to be, but I refuse to let MS define me.

Having retired, I now volunteer at a retirement home, attend weekly MS support group meetings, and finding joy in small pleasures like watching hockey and baseball. It takes more effort to frown than smile. I try to live life to the best of my abilities with a positive attitude. I’m certainly not perfect, but I have a strong sense of gratitude for being alive. 

Dealing with challenges head on is the key. With that mindset, I’ve been able to work in counseling agencies, hold my private practice, and supervise social workers for more than 35 years and complete two more degrees in the social work field! Of course, there are always moments of grief and adaptation, but I’m very fortunate to have a strong support system.

I think it’s so important for people who are recently diagnosed to grieve, be patient, educate themselves, stay mobile, and connect with MS support groups. Life with MS is a journey. Focus on the gains in research, the power of hope, and the small pleasures in life.”

To learn more please visit MS Canada. To make a payroll pledge or donation to support MS Canada and Federated Health Charities, please visit Federated Health Charities.

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For general questions:

Sarah Wood
Executive Director
437-925-6227
sarah.wood2@ontario.ca

Address

315 Front St. West, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 0B8

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For general questions:

Sarah Wood
Executive Director
437-925-6227
sarah.wood2@ontario.ca

Address

315 Front St. West, 5th Floor
Toronto, ON
M7A 0B8

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