"...Our government has the power to improve the current situation by increasing access to treatments, investing in comprehensive home care, and enhancing access through accessibility legislation."
From May 1-3, 2017 representatives from the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and members of the MS community will meet with parliamentarians in Ottawa to launch MS Awareness Month (May). The meetings will focus on getting the government to take action to improve #LifeWithMS.
Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world, making advocacy and action related to MS a top concern for Canadians.
Priority topics include policy changes regarding access for people living with MS (implementation of accessibility legislation; affordable treatments; and delivery of home care, supportive housing and age-appropriate/function-appropriate long-term care) and secure employment (flexible employment for those with MS and other episodic disabilities; and improved income and disability supports for those living with MS).
The often unpredictable and episodic nature of MS makes it particularly challenging in maintaining an adequate quality of life. This, along with the challenges of living with a disability, which has both visible and invisible symptoms and the barriers in support programs across all levels of governments, creates immense challenges for Canadian families.
"Every day my life and the lives of countless other Canadians are impacted by multiple sclerosis," says Marilyn Lenzen, who lives with relapsing remitting MS. "There can be a lot holding us back. Many of us living with MS don't have the option of benefiting from new MS treatments, which could slow down the progression of our disease due to a lack of government funded drug coverage. As our MS progresses, our independence is lost. Without sufficient home care options, we're forced to leave our homes for non-age-appropriate long-term care facilities. Our government has the power to improve the current situation by increasing access to treatments, investing in comprehensive home care, and enhancing access through accessibility legislation."
Throughout MS Awareness Month and leading up to World MS Day (May 31), the MS Society also advocates for the importance of accelerating research in the MS community, which continues to lead us to new treatments, better quality of life and one day, a cure.
Parliamentarians are invited to a reception on the evening of Monday, May 1 (5:30pm; Commonwealth Room, House of Commons), to learn more about how the MS Society is accelerating research to improve #LifeWithMS.
At 1pm on Wednesday, May 3, the annual Carnation Pinning Ceremony will take place in the House of Commons foyer where MS Society representatives, members of the MS community and party representatives Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre), Kerry Diotte (Edmonton Griesbach) and Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby South) will present carnations, as a symbol of solidarity with Canadians affected by MS, to MPs as they enter the day's session.
Following the ceremony, MPs involved in the ceremony will present members' statements calling for support for the cause from fellow parliamentarians.
Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis in the world. MS is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system comprising the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. It is one of the most common neurological diseases affecting young adults in Canada. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 40, and the unpredictable effects of MS last for the rest of their lives. The MS Society provides services to people with MS and their families and funds research to find the cause and cure for this disease. Please visit mssociety.ca or call 1-800-268-7582 to make a donation or for more information.
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