By the time she was finally diagnosed with MS, Rosanne Esposito already was using a cane to help her walk and was experiencing exacerbations every couple months.
Then, she began taking Copaxone, one of six FDA-approved medications to treat MS.
“It made a huge difference,” she says. “The time between flare-ups became longer and recovery became easier. Today, I don’t use a cane. That has a lot to do with being able to take the medication from the earliest point I was diagnosed.”
Her dramatic improvement made her realize how fortunate she was to have excellent health care coverage through her employer, Expeditors International. Even the least expensive of the six MS drugs can cost $17,000 a year.
It also spurred Rosanne and her husband, Lou Ross, to make generous gifts totaling more than $80,000 to establish the Chapter’s prescription assistance program and help those who might not be so lucky. At the Chapter’s recent Dinner of Champions, the couple and their guests raised an additional $25,000 for the program.
“We have the gift of not having to struggle financially to be able to maintain my health. And I have so much support both at home and at work from my family and co-workers. Not everyone can say that,” says Rosanne. “I believe we have to help each other.”
The reason MS drugs are so expensive is because it costs about $180 million to research, develop and bring a new drug to market. Some 400,000 people in the United States have MS, a relatively small number to share in paying those huge costs.
After joining the Chapter’s Board of Trustees two years ago, Rosanne and Lou began to think more deeply about how they might show their support for the MS Movement. While they knew that research was very important, “sometimes, we have to help one person at a time,” she states.
“I hope more people will donate so that what we created can be sustained,” concludes Rosanne. “Those we help will continue to need their medications, and more people will be diagnosed. No one should be in the position where they don’t have access to a drug that can make such a difference in their life.”