May 28, 2014
Volunteers and people living with multiple sclerosis have today set up red marquees around Perth to raise funds and spread awareness as part of World MS Day.
And Council House in the CBD is lit up red for MS in another show of support.
In Australia, there are 23,000 people living with MS and another 1000 are diagnosed every year.
On average, one in 20 people are affected by MS through a family member, friend or personally at some point in their life.
The disease affects the spinal cord and brain, and 75 percent of those diagnosed are aged under 40.
There is no cure for MS and every person diagnosed with the disease will experience it differently.
MS Australia chief executive Debra Cerasa said because MS was often diagnosed in people in the prime of their lives it had a significant impact on their ability to work.
Recent statistics show 50-80 per cent of people with the condition are unable to work full time within 10 years of diagnosis.
The theme for this year’s World MS Day is ‘access’, referring to access to health care, support or opportunity in education and the workplace.
Andrew McCleer from Mandurah was diagnosed on Fathers Day 2007 with MS in its most progressive and aggressive form.
He lived with the disease for five years until his death at the age of 47 in 2012 when his lungs collapsed which led to him being put in an induced coma.
Within a year of diagnosis, Mr McCleer had to use either a wheelchair or a walker.
Afer three years he was confined to a wheelchair.
His daughter Ellen McCleer, 20, said he became ill very fast.
“It was very hard for us,” she said.
“We became his carers and did a lot of things that we never thought we would ever have to do.”
Matteo Vinci, 30, is one of many volunteers involved in today’s event.
Mr Vinci said World MS Day was extremely important in raising awareness about the disease, as it was a complex condition many people did not know about.
“Days like today are not just about donating,” he said.
“By sharing a link to the cause or posting a picture of the bus making its way around the city, these all help in raising awareness for MS.”