On a bright and beautiful Sunday morning, colleagues from FirstService’s corporate office in Toronto joined together to participate in the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada’s Mandarin MS Walk in support of friends, family members and co-workers who are affected by the disease. Through its fundraising efforts, the team raised $3,380 for MS research.
“We were happy to join 1,000 other community members to support the MS Walk. When we were researching causes to support, the fact that Canadians have one of the highest rates of MS in the world means many of us have friends and loved ones afflicted with the disease,” said Ryan Bedrich, director, finance for FirstService Corporation. “It is estimated that 1 in every 385 Canadians is affected with the disease.”
MS can strike any one at any time. While it is most often diagnosed in young adults aged 20 to 49, younger children and older adults are also diagnosed with the disease.
MS is classified as an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system which attacks the protective covering of the nerves called myelin. This causes inflammation which often damages the myelin which is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses through nerve fibres. If damage to myelin is slight, nerve impulses travel with minor interruptions. In cases with substantial damage, and if scar tissue replaces the myelin, then nerve impulses may be completely disrupted, and the nerve fibres themselves can be damaged.
An unpredictable condition, MS can cause symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lack of coordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes. It affects different people in different ways and these effects can be physical, emotional and financial. While there is currently no cure, every day researchers are learning more about what causes it in the hopes of one day knowing how to prevent it.
This is why it’s so important to raise awareness of MS and funding for its research.