Canada has one of the highest rates of Multiple Sclerosis in the World. Indeed throughout Canada, according to MS Canada’s website, 12 people a day are diagnosed with the disease every day and currently an estimated 90,000 Canadians are living with Multiple Sclerosis.

In May, MS Canada runs a number of initiatives to mark the month as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month. The month culminates on May 30, with World MS Day. This is a day that was initiated in 2009, whose objective is to unify individuals and organizations from around the world. The hope is that awareness of MS would be raised and we would move closer to a world free of MS.

Throughout this month MS Canada is holding a couple of big events to help raise money and awareness of the Disease. They are currently running an event called The May 50k that is encouraging people to get out and run, walk or roll 50k for MS research. The other big event is the MS Walk which this year is happening Sunday, May 26th at Kildonan Park.

Aside from the May 50k and the MS Walk, MS Canada is doing a myriad of things to raise MS awareness. Andrea McCulloch is the Director of Community Engagement for the Winnipeg branch of MS Canada, as she states, “There is so much going on. we just had a group of volunteers attend “A Day on the Hill”… meeting with representatives from our government to put forward the priorities of MS Canada and advocate for people living with MS. There are some grass routes advocacy pieces that are happening across the country, where volunteers are going out into their community and connecting with their local governments to have May proclaimed as MS month…some are flying the MS Canada flag outside their local building, and also getting monuments lit up in red…so some really exciting things happening.”

Both the May 50k and the MS Walk are pledge-based fundraisers. The May 50k is on right now, but people can join anytime throughout the month of May. The idea is to get people out running, walking or rolling 50 kilometres in the month in support of MS. As McCulloch says, there are so many ways people can submit pledges, “The online fundraising platform has come so far and it makes it so easy…you can ask for donations through email, there are links that you can share on your social media channels…it’s quite easy to do,” says McCulloch.

The kilometres that have been covered can be logged in a couple of ways. “It’s so easy to log your kilometres. You can log in online on your computer or you can do it through an app on your phone. If you have a Fitbit or an Apple watch you can just sync the two and it will automatically track the kilometres for you, so it is really easy.”


The other big fundraiser is the MS Walk, which this year is at Kildonan Park on Sunday, May 26th. Check-in is at 10 a.m. and step-off happens at 11 a.m. The registration process is very easy you can do it online. The route is four kilometres long. The whole event has a real party atmosphere to it. It is also a great way to meet people living with the disease and discuss shared experiences living with MS and find comfort in the fact that if you or a family member has the disease they are not alone. The goal for this year’s MS Walk is $224,000. It is just a great way to spend a Sunday morning in late May.

The money that is raised by MS Canada goes to a number of different initiatives. As McCulloch explains, “A big priority for the organization is investing in MS research, so we’ve invested over 218 million dollars over the years in MS research…but it’s also really important to support the person living with MS and their surrounding circle. We have our MS knowledge network, it’s such a great resource for people affected by MS. It’s staffed by our MS navigators that live across the country…it’s available in both official languages. You can pick up the phone and call them, you can send an email, you can e-chat on our website. They are just such great experts and a resource on living life with MS. We also have wellness programs that are available online…it includes that physical activity component but they also have an opportunity for connection for after the fact too. And of course our peer support groups… so we have different groups that meet across the country because sometimes you just need to talk to somebody who has been there and can really understand what you are going through.”

MS Canada does so much good work for those living with MS and their families, and the money they provide for MS research has helped make the disease more manageable to live with, due largely to the innovations in disease-modifying therapies. There is still so much work to be done to see a world free of MS. If you know someone who is struggling with the disease, why not take part in some of the amazing initiatives that are happening in the Month of MS awareness.

For more details on Multiple Sclerosis visit the MS Canada website.