It's March 2018. MS is still here. And it still sucks. Like a vacuum hoovering away abilities. So I'm introducing it again in case you need a refresher.
Because March is recognized since 2003 as MS Awareness Month. It's orange bracelets and orange ribbons and proud walkers and swimmers as fundraisers.
But MS has been around since at least the 1860's. You can read about the history here.
And while the MS Society says that there are 400,000 people diagnosed with it in the US, everyone knows at least someone who has it. I think it was Montel Williams says it should be 1 million or more.
And that's just in the US. It is estimated to be 2.3 million worldwide.
At this point, there are multiple MS associations in the U.S. alone that have information on the disease. Any would be pleased to take donations.
- One of the oldest and most well known is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Founded in New York in 1946 by the sister of a man diagnosed with the disease who simply placed a classified ad looking for others. It became a national, multi-chapter, non-profit organization and has subsequently become renowned worldwide. You may be familiar with it's annual MS walk-a-thons. Another place to donate is on the website here.
- Also there is The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. Founded in 1970, it raises money by swimming for a cure. Or donate here.
- Or the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. Or Can Do MS (formerly The Jimmie Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis founded in 1984)
For research there's the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC), The North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis (NARCOMS) and Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ATRIMS) to name a few.
I guess my point is that there are a lot of eyes on it, whether you are aware or not.
There's a good article demonstrating how to research charitable contributions here. Suffice it to say, there are better organizations than others, even better chapters of the same organization.
Bottom line is that this disease still needs more research. It has proven to be a troublesome, perplexing, messy puzzle.
And that research costs money.
So wear orange. Wave flags. And remind everyone you know: March is MS Awareness Month, but you can find reasons to give everyday.