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From the Chair

by John Bjornson

John Bjornson

John Bjornson

No other disease has seen more progress in treatments over the past 15 years, not to mention what we expect over the next five years in research into oral (as opposed to injected) drug treatments and new therapies.

The bigger picture gives us even more hope. National MS Society-supported research is providing exciting new clues to lead us to the three cures - stop the disease, prevent the disease, and repair the myelin damage. We have an extraordinary window of opportunity to capitalize on this momentum.

This generation can get us there, so why wait for future generations to solve the MS mystery when we can do it? Why not move faster? To paraphrase the sports ads, why not just do it?

That’s the concept behind the new Fast Forward program, which will allow us to take bolder and swifter steps toward the cures by better leveraging some of the great untapped resources of the National MS Society. Fast Forward represents an opportunity to advance new research without compromising all the other great work we’re already doing. You can learn more about this promising new program on page 10. And we’ll continue to keep you posted on Fast Forward and on our Chapter’s role in helping to lead the way.

While research advances continue, we still have more than 8,500 families living with this chronic disease, each of them experiencing a different journey. One of our Chapter’s greatest accomplishments over the past several years has been to transform the programs we offer from a one-size-fits-all approach to a uniquely tailored approach that addresses individual needs and experiences. For example, learn more about our Peer Support Program, which matches people with MS to others living with the disease for telephone support sessions.

Peer Support is just one example of dozens of innovative and often life-changing programs that the Chapter offers. Still, too few people know how the Society can help them live better with MS. Tell someone today!

Everyone can play a role in the MS movement. One way to join in is to participate in or create a team for Walk MS in April. For me and my family, the Walk has been a powerful lesson to our three elementary-age children in the importance of giving back and the capacity for grassroots events to make a difference. We hope to see you in April!

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