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MS Society launches virtual movement #WeChallengeMS to help fundraise during awareness month

This year's MS Walk will go on but with a virtual twist due to COVID-19.
This year's MS Walk will go on but with a virtual twist due to COVID-19. MS Society/mssociety.ca

Like many other businesses and organizations in Canada, the Multiple Sclerosis Society has had to make some changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic to continue their goal of a world free of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world, with an average of 11 Canadians diagnosed every day. MS is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Most people diagnosed with the disease are between the ages of 20 and 49, and the unpredictable effects of the disease last the rest of their lives.

READ MORE: Multiple sclerosis in Canada — Understanding why MS rates are the highest here

For those Canadians living with and affected by MS, the COVID-19 pandemic presents additional concerns on top of an already challenging condition.

“This is a difficult time for all Canadians, and for Canadians living with MS, these are especially challenging times as the global pandemic adds an additional stress to an at-risk population,” says Pamela Valentine, president and CEO of the MS Society of Canada. “As we navigate this new reality, it’s important to continue to come together as a community and support one another.”

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May is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, and every May, the MS Society hosts its annual MS Walk, an event encouraging Canadians to come together to raise funds for research and support those affected by MS.

With self-distancing and self-isolation becoming the new normal for many Canadians, the MS Society had to rethink how this year’s walk would work. The organization created #WeChallengeMS, a nationwide virtual movement urging Canadians to turn their ordinary actions in the extraordinary — all to support people living with multiple sclerosis.

The MS Society has launched a virtual fundraising challenge for the month of May.
The MS Society has launched a virtual fundraising challenge for the month of May. MS Society/mssociety.ca

READ MORE: Blue Nose Marathon a major milestone for runner with multiple sclerosis

Throughout the month of May, MS communities across the country will be encouraged to connect virtually to rally with the tens of thousands of Canadians affected by MS.

By fundraising and participating in #WeChallengeMS and maintaining physical distancing, Canadians can help provide a sense of community and essential support to people affected by MS while continuing to fund research.

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Ordinary hobbies for #WeChallengeMS can include baking, gaming, running or cycling. These can be turned into fundraising opportunities like hosting a baking class from your kitchen, launching a fitness challenge with your friends on social media or streaming your hobby online.

READ MORE: Man diagnosed with MS walking from Dartmouth to Truro to raise awareness

“Achieving a world free of MS will take all of us, and every action taken by each caring Canadian brings us closer,” says Valentine. “By communities helping each other, we can all challenge MS together.”

On Sunday, May 24, MS communities across Canada will rally together at a nationwide virtual MS Walk. #WeChallengeMS participants can create a virtual team with friends and family or create a corporate team and walk in their own neighbourhoods to help support those affected by MS.

For more information on #WeChallengeMS and how you can participate, visit wechallengeMS.ca.