Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world. Every single day, 12 people across our country are newly diagnosed with this disease. Two out of three of the people who live with MS are women, and most are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 49, the prime working years of their lives. The people who live with MS are our family members, our siblings, our friends, our colleagues, and our neighbours. While each one of them experiences this disease differently, one thing brings them all together: the hope that MS research provides.
For the MS community, research is the hope that some day we will understand what causes MS in one person so we can prevent others from ever being diagnosed in the future. It is the hope for new treatments to slow disease progression and alleviate symptoms. It is the hope that a cure will be found, and the vision of the MS Society will be realized: a world free of MS.
As part of a global movement, the MS Society of Canada has been at the forefront of more breakthroughs for MS than the world has seen for any other neurological disease. We are on the precipice of new discoveries that have taken decades to reach. Unfortunately, this momentum has been impacted by COVID-19 and a lack of funding. Throughout our history, the MS Society has contributed more than $204 million towards MS research and leveraged millions more through partnerships with industry and government but now, all that has slowed to a trickle. In 2019 we committed more than $10 million towards funding MS researchers in Canada but in 2020, that number was just $5.5 million. Additionally, our research commitment in 2021 was $2.6 million. What will happen if we don’t continue to push forward with MS research? What discoveries will be lost? How many more people will be impacted?
Minister, we call on the Government of Canada to recognize that MS is Canada’s disease by committing to increased funding for MS research on an ongoing basis. We need your support to fund the researchers pursuing answers to the most fundamental questions about MS: what causes it, who gets it, and how can we stop it?
Together, we can ensure that Canada maintains its position as a world leader in MS research. Please join us in that work to #TakeActionForMS today.