The protective covering or insulation of the nerve fibres (myelin) in the central nervous system is damaged and thus nerve impulses to the brain, spine and optic nerve are short circuited.
Its many varied symptoms include problems in vision, mobility, speech weakness, numbness, memory, bowel and bladder control.
Over 2.5 million people worldwide are diagnosed with MS MS affects twice as many women as men, most diagnosed between 20 and 40 years of age.
There is one new diagnosis of a person with MS each day
These are just people who are registered with the MS Society. We think that there could be as many people out there with MS who are not registered with the MS Society.
It is the most common chronic neurological disease of young Australians aged between 17 - 50.
MS is not contagious nor directly inheritable
70 % of people who have MS are female.
98% of people with MS are of Caucasian background " MS is rarely a fatal disease.
- For some people, MS is a severe disease causing life threatening complications. However the majority of people with MS die from unrelated causes and have a near-normal life span.
-Multiple Sclerosis - means "many scars". Multiple meaning many and Sclerosis is Greek for Scars.
-It is a disease that affects the central nervous system and for reasons, which remain a mystery, in MS the body's own immune system attacks its self.
We provided seed funding in 2003 (approx $45,000) for the Australian MS Longitudinal Study (AMSLS) under the guidance of Doctor Rex Simmons at the Australian National University in Canberra. The study is a nationwide project where people with MS are recruited to fill out surveys on different topics at different times in the year and is designed to facilitate new research of importance and potential benefit to people with MS and their families.
In 2005 we financed (airfare and living costs) a vocational exchange with a nurse from India. She spent a week with the MS Society of Victoria (which is considered to be one of the World's best practice for MS client care). This was a successful project as she learnt a lot, has taken her knowledge back to India and is training nurses from the 11 MS Societies in India. Early in 2006 we facilitated and paid for a vocational exchange by a member of the MS Society of Japan to travel to the MS Society in Melbourne (similar to above Indian exchange). This also was very successful.
We provide computers for low income people with MS to access the internet and email. For many people with MS, this may be the only sort of regular social activity that they can undertake.
We are contributing to the funding of a young science student to do her Ph.D.,[in partnership with the Australian Rotary Health Research Fund (ARHRF), and the University of Melbourne's Howard Florey Institute], in the field of Brain Repair in MS; now in her third year.
Proceeds from our fund-raising activities will go towards projects including:
- Continue to assist Doctor Rex Simmons at the Australian National University in Canberra for the Australian MS Longitudinal Study (AMSLS).
- Continue funding the PhD Student in her field of research in brain repair in MS
- Continue providing computers and other needs to low income people with MS
- Holding MS awareness forums at every Rotary District (Victoria) Conference, and annual Rotary International Conventions
- Continuing our close association with the Australian Rotary Health Research Fund to sponsor research into Multiple Sclerosis.
Rotarian Action Group of MS Awareness
How it Works:
Rotary has a structure that can be simply described as three levels: Club, District, and International. The MS Awareness Fellowship envisages the involvement of Rotary at all these levels. Rotary is structured in such a way that the things that interest all of these levels is basically the same, the difference is only one of scale.
When MS Awareness began as a District 9800 project we had a dream. We dreamt of Rotary acting as an independant facilitator between all the groups involved in MS care and research. We imagined the caregivers, the MS Societies, the charitable organisations, the pharmaceutical companies, the researchers and also the people who have MS getting together in one room and talking. This multi-disciplinary " Think-tank" would be a place where ideas could be created and shared about the problems of MS.
Now MS Awareness has become a Rotary Action Group. This gives us the oppourtunity to reach people in all those areas across the world where Rotary exists. Rotary is in 167 countries. There are MS Societies in 35 of these and the number is always growing. Our aim is for Rotarians to form links with the MS Societies in their country. The MS International Federation is working with our Rotarian Action Group to co-ordinate our activities world- wide. There are members of our Action Group in 13 countries. With the development of our e-mail forum we now have the means to allow this "Think-tank" to operate.
People in all areas of the World MS Community can talk to each other and share ideas. In this way, Rotary can help find a cure for MS.
Rotarian Action Group of MS Awareness
For further information on The Rotary Action Group for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness - Click here