I met professional photographer Maria Pulice on Twitter in August 2010. It was fortuitous as she was involved with a very bold and creative project, Fly for MS, about bringing global awareness to a disease that has touched my family, Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Some of you already know about my niece, Veronica, who lived with MS for over 20 years before passing away in September 2010.
March 14 – 20 is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week. I hope to contribute to MS awareness efforts through this blog post, social media postings, and by sharing photos from the Fly for MS project provided by Maria.
What is multiple sclerosis? The following is from the National Multiple Sclerosis (NMSS) website:
“Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another. Today, new treatments and advances in research are giving new hope to people affected by the disease.”
The cause of MS is still not known and there is not a cure.
Headed by founder Andrei Floroiu, Fly for MS exemplifies a creative and generous team that has truly traveled for a good cause. I was very impressed by their journey of 36,250 miles to 31 countries in 75 days that raised global awareness of MS and delivered a message of support to those living with the disease. In each place they visited, they took people with MS on scenic flights in their Cessna 340 airplane. In some countries, they flew people to treatment centers, met with health officials and organized media events to focus on MS education and issues.
In Munich, Germany:
Back in the United States on November 11, 2010, the team spent a weekend in Chicago where Andrei was the keynote speaker at the annual NMSS conference. While there, Fly for MS took people with MS on flights over the city. Please watch this inspiring Chicago television news video with the Fly for MS team and the people living with MS that they met.
Click here: WGN Saturday News, Chicago
MS Walk events will be taking place across the United States in April and May. The following is from the NMSS website:
“Walk MS is our rallying point, a time and a place for us to stand together and to be together — to help raise critical funds that support cutting edge research, drive change through advocacy, facilitate professional education and provide programs and services to help people with MS move their lives forward.”
I’ll be participating as will family and friends in various cities. Veronica’s daughter, Heather, has headed up an MS Walk team in Joliet, Illinois in her mom’s honor for several years and will be doing that again this year in her memory.
I encourage you to learn more about Multiple Sclerosis and how you can help by supporting efforts to develop new treatments, find a cure, and increase awareness of Multiple Sclerosis.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
All Fly for MS photos by Maria Pulice Photography.
I have a friend here in Sacramento who has this as well. MS people are only handicapped physically. They are really intelligent and have a lot to give!
Thanks for you comment and sharing the post with others, Jeremy – much appreciated!
There are people out their who do the most extraordinary things to help people – angels all of them!
Perfectly said, John. Thank you.
I’ll certainly spread this around Cathy. Thanks for alerting us.Great cause !
Thanks much for the support, Jim!
Great post, Cathy. I’m so sorry to hear about your niece. I don’t know too much about this disease but I do have a friend with MS. I will be sure to spread the word on this post.
Thanks, Christy. You’re not alone – many people don’t know about MS or they have mis-information. That’s was MS Awareness Week is all about! Thanks for spreading the word!
Great article. MS needs more promotion and understanding. A lot of people are still not even aware of it.
Thanks, Natalie — You are so right. I’m glad that I have an opportuntiy through my blog to help a bit towards MS Awareness.
Lovely post Cathy, so great of you to highlight such an important cause.
Thanks, Ayngelina for you comment and helping to spread the word!
Good luck with all of your work in promoting this Catherine. Blogs are great places for spreading the word aren’t they?! You’ve reached a lot of people (like me) that wouldn’t have even known it was MS Awareness Week.
Thanks so much, Julia. It makes me feel very good to know that the post has made a positive difference in the cause of MS Awareness!
Great of you to raise awareness for this terrible illness and what these people do is what I call effective and hands on charity as opposed to sitting back and trying to silence your conscience by giving a few bucks to the Red Cross. I’d like to get involved, how?
Thanks, Inka. It’s great of you to want to be involved. A great resource in the U.S. is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society – http://www.nationalmssociety.org/ They can probably direct you to international associations.
Thanks Cathy, I shared this post. I know quite a few people affected by multiple sclerosis, they have different conditions, for some of them the disease is going very fast, it’s very sad to see they have even difficulty to walk.
Thank you so much for sharing the post, Angela. Yes, MS affects different people in so many different ways in severity and progression. We all hope that there will soon be answers as to what causes the disease and how to cure it.
Great post and cause. I too am sorry about your niece. My wife has a cousin who is affected by MS so this post hits home. I will surely share this post with others.
Pete, so glad to have your support for this cause. The good news is that they are continuing to make strides in finding new treatments. But there’s so much more to be done — particularly with finding the cause and a cure! Thank you for sharing the post.
Stumbled! Such a great cause – it’s wonderful of you to highlight it!
Thank you, Andrea. It’s wonderful of YOU to be spreading the word!
Sorry to hear about your niece. I’m sure she would be very appreciative of your efforts to promote the cause and hopefully find a cure for this terrible disease.
Thanks for the kind words, Laurel. She was an awesome person who kept smiling throughout all the years she had this disease.
Sorry to hear about your niece. On the other hand, it’s to great to learn about Fly for MS. They are truly doing a great job by raising awareness and by supporting people with MS. Definitely spreading the word.
Norbert, thanks so much for helping with the cause — much appreciated. The Fly for MS team was so creative in how they raised awareness with their project. Such good people!
I didn’t know about your niece and I was sorry to hear about her, but thank you for sharing a lovely post.
Thank you, Robin. I appreciate your kind words.
Wonderful initiative. Thanks for spreading the word about this!
Thanks for highlighting this organization and sharing with us about your niece. There are so many medical walks out there now, but the MS Walk is one I remember participating in as a kid. Both of my parents work with people with disabilities, they’ll be interested in hearing about this organization.
How great that you participated in the MS Walk! Your parents much be very special people — I very much admire people who work with the disabled! Thanks for sharing with them.
Great post Cathy. Thanks for bringing some awareness to this. I have to admit that it is not a disease about which we are very informed.
I know that MS can strike any of us at anytime. Good post Cathy. I have shared around.
I taught a student whose mother had this disease. It was really quite sad to see what she went through and how it impacted her family. Great cause.
Great initiative. Good luck with the fundraising Cathy
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I am so sorry to hear about your niece Cathy, I have seen the affects of this horrible disease too many times. I heard a statistic that hte Pacific Northwest has one of the highest percentages of MS cases in the world, I would be interested in looking into why that is.
I found this post via your 7 LInks, and I’m happy to share this with others as I think any time you can partner your passion for travel with a good cause it’s worth talking about!
Good post Cathy, I am also sorry to hear abput your niece. I will share this post too, and you have certainlymade me think about this disease.
Thanks to all of you for your kind comments. Sorry that I haven’t responded to all of you individually.
I’m glad that I could bring a little light to the subject of Multiple Sclerosis and what some good folks are doing to help!