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World MS Day - Bringing Awareness to an invisible disease May 29, 2021 @ 1:15pm

World MS Day is May 30th and the day has a goal of bringing communities together to share stories and raise awareness about Multiple Sclerosis.

There are usually a variety of activities taking place throughout the month of May and into early June to help the MS Society achieve this goal. However, like so many things, COVID-19 has changed these to more virtual-based activities.

Local MS Ambassador, Philippa Brysiuk, has been a member of the MS Society for approximately 15 years. She says that the role of an MS Ambassador varies but they are often people with, or directly affected by those who have MS. Some Ambassadors organize events and fundraisers, while others meet with those who have been recently diagnosed with MS.

Roughly 3 people in Canada are diagnosed with MS every day. Canada has the highest number of cases per capita. Brysiuk explains the real struggle with raising awareness is that MS is a fairly invisible disease. Many people who have it, can seem to function normally with no physical disabilities from the disease.

“Someone around the corner could have it, and you wouldn’t know.” -Philippa Brysiuk, Ambassador MS Society

The MS Society recently challenged its Ambassadors to get their local municipalities to raise an MS flag to bolster awareness. If not for the whole month, at least for the week leading up to MS Day. Brysiuk was able to get both the town and the county to raise the MS Society Flag at their respective offices. She explained that both groups were easy to approach and were happy to agree to fly the flag in support of MS Awareness.

Brysiuk states there are a lot of great fundraising events happening online, but she does miss the more traditional in-person fundraisers. In the past, she has been a part of the Stettler Walk for MS that takes place on the Stettler Walking/Running Track, as well as a hot dog sale in front of the Stettler branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia.

With MS Day on Sunday, May 30th, Brysiuk notes that Jayman Master Builders in Red Deer is matching online donations made up to $200,000.

The MS Society raises funds for research and for client services. The recent COVID situation has drastically reduced fundraising efforts for the organization and has forced them to permanently shut down their Red Deer office, as well as temporarily close their Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat offices. Fundraising for the organization has come up approximately $80,000 short compared to years before COVID.

If you're interested in donating to the MS Society, you can do so through the MS Society of Canada website or Philippa's personal Ambassador page.

Philippa's page:

MS Society of Canada:

Carson Ellis, Reporter


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