MS awareness month

It’s time to ‘paint the town red’ for a tremendous cause. Hundreds of Central Alberta residents will be acknowledging that May is MS Awareness month and red is the official colour of the MS Society.

Local are kicking things of today at their downtown office as Mayor Morris Flewwelling will be reading a proclamation announcing May as MS Awareness month and organizers will be providing information over the lunch hour to folks about multiple sclerosis and the campaign running through May.

According to the MS Society, multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system which is composed of the brain and spinal cord. The disease attacks the myelin which is a covering wrapped around the nerves of the central nervous system.

The flow of nerve impulses along nerve fibres (axons) is interrupted or distorted.

Multiple sclerosis is described as a complex disease. While it is most often diagnosed in young adults, aged 15 to 40, it’s known that it affects children, some as young as two years old. Its impact can be widespread. There is no cure.

Symptoms can include balance problems and dizziness, fatigue, difficulty in walking, pain, tremor, weakness, spasticity and optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve) among others.

According to the Society, an estimated 55,000-75,000 Canadians have multiple sclerosis. Prevalence rates range from one MS case per 500 people to one in 1,000 across the country. Canada is a high-risk area for the disease, which occurs more often in countries, like Canada that are further away from the equator.

The MS Society estimates, based on current prevalence rates, that about 1,000 new cases of MS are diagnosed in Canada each year, which means three more Canadians are diagnosed with MS every day.

Meanwhile, at today’s event, there will also be information about special events slated for the next several weeks, which include, on May 4th, joining the Red Deer Earls team as they raise funds with a car wash, raffle sale and silent auction to compete in the Leadership Conference’s Red Deer Sings competition. This runs from 8 to 11 a.m. in the Earls parking lot.

On May 10-11, volunteers are asked to be a part of the MS Carnation Campaign – carnations can be purchased at Central Alberta Co-op Ltd. locations.

On May 26, the Enerflex MS Walk & Run will be held starting out from the Kiwanis Picnic Shelter at Great Chief Park. Last year Central Alberta Walkers raised $144,874.92. And looking ahead, the Johnson MS Bike Tour
is set for June 8-9. It’s a pledge-based fundraising event that provides Canadians with the opportunity to ride through scenic and often spectacular parts of the country.

Officials are grateful for the solid support shown by the Central Alberta community, and are encouraging folks to join in and help out again this year – painting the town red in a way that can really make a profound difference in someone’s life.