Founded in 1948, the MS Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing support, services and research for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). The BC and Yukon arm of the MS Society opened in 1975 and has been an invaluable resource to BC residents and their families who are living and dealing with the impact of MS.
With a mission to “be a leader in finding a cure for multiple sclerosis and enabling people affected by MS to enhance their quality of life," the MS Society receives very little government funding and relies on support from organizations such as the Gulf & Fraser Foundation to help people living with MS achieve a higher quality of life.
MS is a complex and multifaceted autoimmune disease that impacts the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). The disease is unpredictable and symptoms can range from extreme fatigue to cognitive impairment. The cause of MS is still unknown, despite vast research, and it is thought that genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors all play a part. MS is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 15-40, but has been diagnosed in young children and older adults. MS is three times more likely to impact women than men, and Canada currently has the highest rate of MS in the world.
In 2016, the Gulf & Fraser Foundation donated funds to the MS Society to launch an initiative called the “MS Navigators”. Understanding that an MS diagnosis can be confusing and frightening, the MS Navigators are trained to provide resources and support to anyone anywhere across Canada via a 1-800 phone number, or through email. From answering questions on MS symptoms, research and treatment options, to providing information on local MS networks and support channels, the MS Navigators are there to give those with MS, and anyone impacted by the disease, a safe place to reach out and connect.
Tania Vrionis, former President, MS Society of Canada, Alberta & NWT - BC & Yukon Divisions