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.
All Fly for MS photos by Maria Pulice Photography.