Tuesday, May 27, 2008

18 Senators Join the Congressional MS Caucus

See if your Senator has joined. Scroll down to check out the complete list below.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Urge Funding to Assist Family Caregivers

Respite care for family caregivers is among the most critically necessary and beneficial family support services for those living with multiple sclerosis. Although the Lifespan Respite Care Act was signed into federal law in December 2006, Congress still has not provided the funding needed to make quality care available to family caregivers, regardless of their age or disability.

Those families need your help. Click here and enter your ZIP code to send an e-mail to your Senators and Representatives urging them to support $53.3 million for the Lifespan Respite Care Act in the FY 2009 Labor-Health & Human Services-Education (Labor-H) appropriations bills.

Respite care is temporary care for a patient with the intention of providing relief for the primary caregivers. An estimated 50 million family caregivers nationwide provide 80% of long-term care. For individuals who provide care to family members with conditions like MS, it's important to have assistance. In fact, respite care is the most frequently requested family support service, and it has been shown to help family caregivers maintain their own health and improve family life. Read more about the Lifespan Respite Care Act here.

In addition to e-mailing your legislators, we encourage you to make an appointment to meet in person with your Senators or Representative during the May 23-June 2 Memorial Day district work period to let them know about this important program and necessary funding. To locate their district office, click here.

Earlier this year, 29 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, and Education urging full funding ($53.3 million) for the Lifespan Respite Care program in the FY09 Labor-HHS appropriations bill. In addition on March 13, 2008, the Senate passed an amendment, offered by Senator Hillary Clinton (NY) and Senator John Warner (VA), to the Senate Budget Resolution reserving $53 million for Lifespan Respite programs in the Federal Budget. While this amendment does not guarantee funding, it is a critically important step and will make it easier to secure funding during the current appropriations process.

Thank you for being an MS activist. Join the movement at www.nationalMSsociety.org/advocacy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Society Chairman Testifies Before Congress in Support of Stem Cell Research

On May 8, Weyman Johnson, the National MS Society Chairman of the National Board of Directors, provided testimony to Congress in support of embryonic stem cell research.

Weyman lives with MS and is a long time supporter of MS research and embryonic stem cell research. His testimony was particularly powerful on a day when 400 other MS activists were in offices across Capitol Hill influencing public policy decisions.

Weyman's testimony included the following statement:
Embryonic stem cell research remains one of the most promising avenues of research to cure diseases and end suffering. I am not a scientist, but I am an observer of science. And I know that science is a matter that requires some patience. That's why we must not abandon the important work done to date with embryonic stem cell lines. The research must continue. So we can improve the lives of people with chronic diseases and conditions. So we can improve the lives of families for generations to come. For my grandchildren and for yours.

Read more about the hearing and Weyman's complete testimony here.

Stem cell research will likely be a key issue in the next Congress, and the Society will be active in the promotion of legislation to support more funding for stem cell research.

Monday, May 19, 2008

National MS Society Names Richard Durbin as Senator of the Year

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society honored U.S. Senator Richard “Dick” Durbin of Illinois as its 2007 Senator of the Year. The award was presented May 8, 2008, at the Society’s annual gathering of MS activists in Washington, DC. This is the highest honor the Society awards to public officials...

“Multiple sclerosis is a challenging disease that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said. “I hope our efforts on the federal level can assist in unraveling the mystery of MS. We must do everything we can to increase research into diagnosing and treating this disease while working to improve the lives of those living with MS. I thank the Society for this wonderful award, but the tireless work of advocates on this issue deserves the real recognition.”

Read more.

Friday, May 9, 2008

National MS Society Names Congressman Carnahan as Representative of the Year

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society honored U.S. Congressman Russ Carnahan of Missouri, 3rd Congressional District, today [May 8] as its 2007 Representative of the Year. The award was presented at the Society’s annual gathering of MS activists in Washington, DC. This is the highest honor the Society awards to public officials...

“It has been a privilege working with The National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I have been continually impressed by the devotion and talent of so many individuals’ work to eradicate MS. I am truly honored to be recognized by such a worthwhile organization. Together we can continue to raise awareness and fund research so that those who suffer with MS and those who love them will live to see a cure,” Congressman Russ Carnahan said.

Click here for more information on Congressman Carnahan's web site.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Press Release: First-Ever Stem Cell Hearing in the House

Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO), the chief architect of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, today applauded the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee for scheduling the first-ever Congressional hearing in the House of Representatives on stem cell research. The hearing entitled, “Stem Cell Science: The Foundation for Future Cures,” will be held on Thursday, May 8th. Click here for more information.

Weyman Johnson, National Multiple Sclerosis Society chairman of the baord, who lives with multiple sclerosis will testify. At the same time, MS activists will be on Capitol Hill talking with their legislators about the need to advance medical research.

Monday, May 5, 2008

MS Activists Go to Washington

Nearly 400 MS activists are traveling to Washington, DC, this week to help shape healthcare policies and programs that impact people living with multiple sclerosis. They will discuss the following issues. Stay tuned for updates throughout the week. (Photo: Walt on Capitol Hill in 2007, diagnosed in 1996)