M.S. Awareness Week is observed annually on a date decided upon by the National MS Society and this year, it takes place from April 25 to May 1. This holiday is all about raising awareness for the most common immune disorder affecting mankind — Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.). The condition affects millions of people worldwide and has been amongst us for over a century. The National M.S. Society established this week not only to help raise awareness of the condition but also to provide resources to those affected by it. During this week, millions of people join several talks, events, organizations, and so on, with the hope of gaining knowledge on the disorder to help themselves or others around them.
History of National MS Week
Multiple Sclerosis is the most common immune system disorder that affects the central nervous system, affecting over two million people worldwide. Common as it may seem, several people are still clueless about the disorder, its symptoms, and generally how it affects the human body. If you are one of those people, read on to know all about it.
Multiple sclerosis is a demyelinating disease that affects the brain and spinal cord due to damages caused to insulating covers. These damages can disrupt the free flow of signals through the nervous system, which can lead to a variety of problems — physical, mental, or psychiatric. M.S. can occur in isolated attacks or can build up into progressive forms.
Some symptoms of this condition may include partial blindness, sensation and coordination issues, and weakening of the muscles. The condition was first officially diagnosed as a distinct disease by a French neurologist in the late 1800s, and since the 20th century, there has been a deal of progress in the diagnosis and treatment of M.S. Although there is no certain cause or treatment of M.S, diagnosed individuals may undergo physical, and occupational therapy to improve motor function.
There are also medications and certain alternative treatments that help to improve function after an attack and to prevent new attacks. The National M.S. Society created M.S. Awareness Week to raise awareness for this condition as well as give affected individuals the platform to tell their stories. They hold different events to promote the cause, and it is observed annually on a week that is determined by the organization.
National MS Week timeline
The chronically ill case of a Dutch saint, Liduina of Schiedam, becomes one of the first cases of M.S. to be documented.
The son of the Duke of Sussex begins journaling a detailed experience of his struggle with M.S.
French neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot, is the first person to recognize the disease and establish a basis for diagnosis.
Theories about the causes and treatments begin to appear.
National MS Week FAQs
Is there an M.S. Awareness Month?
M.S. Awareness Month is observed all through March, to raise awareness about M.S.
What is the symbol for M.S. Month?
The symbol for M.S. Awareness is an orange ribbon adorned with butterflies. The butterflies represent the shape of the brain through an M.R.I, and the multiple colors of the butterfly represent the constantly changing symptoms and unpredictability of M.S.
What day is National M.S. Day?
World M.S. Day is observed globally on May 30, and it was established by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (M.S.I.F.). The campaign focuses on different themes each year.
How to Observe National MS Week
Volunteer at a group
One of the ways you can help the cause is by volunteering. There are several bodies and groups dedicated to the treatment and research of M.S. Find a local group closest to yours, and see how you could lend an extra hand this week.
M.S. organizations require funding to push research, and information, as well as facilitate local groups. This week will be the perfect opportunity to make a selfless donation to any M.S. foundation or organization of your choice. Your donation, however little, can go a long way to positively impacting the M.S. society.
Join a fundraising event
The National M.S. Society organizes several fundraising events within the year. You can be a part of any of these events by running, cycling, walking, baking, and performing other adrenaline-rushing activities to help raise funds for the cause. You can also join one of their virtual fundraising events if you don’t have the opportunity to attend a physical one. Visit their website for more information.
5 Important Facts About M.S.
Vitamin D helps
Research shows that Vitamin D helps lower the risk of M.S. as well as reduce relapses in affected individuals.
It affects more women
According to the N.I.N.D.S. (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke), there are twice as many young women affected by M.S. than men.
It’s difficult to diagnose
The symptoms of M.S. vary and often overlap with other conditions, making it difficult to diagnose.
Pregnancy can help
A lot of immune responses shut down during pregnancy, which leads to an improvement in M.S. symptoms.
It’s not all that hereditary
Only 15% of people with M.S. have a family history of it.
Why National MS Week is Important
It raises awareness
M.S. Awareness Week is all about raising awareness of all things concerning Multiple Sclerosis. This helps educate people on the condition, and also allows them to understand how to handle individuals affected by it.
It allows those affected to tell their stories
The National M.S. Society is also grounded in sharing stories of those affected by M.S. Such organizations and a week like this allow those dealing with the condition to not struggle in silence. They will have an opportunity to tell their story and encourage others to do the same.
It provides support
This week is also aimed at providing support for those affected by the condition. This is done through research documents, support groups, and also online support. M.S. Awareness Week sheds light on all the possible ways these support systems can be reached.
National MS Week dates