|MS Activists at the Rally|
On Monday, April 8, thousands of advocates gathered in downtown Washington, D.C. at the Rally for Medical Research which aimed to make medical research a national priority. The National MS Society partnered with about 200 organizations to bring attention to decreased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the past years and the effects of sequestration, or automatic spending cuts, which resulted in a $1.6 billion reduction to the NIH budget. The Society regards the NIH as an invaluable partner to finding a treatment for progressive MS, additional therapies for relapsing MS and a potential cure for the disease. Approximately $122 million of FY 2011 NIH appropriated funding was directed to MS-related research.
Journalist Cokie Roberts acted as “MC” for the event, which featured numerous political figures, scientists, researchers and patient advocates. Additionally, actress and breast cancer survivor Maura Tierney relayed her story about the impact of research on her life.MS Caucus Co-Chair Representative Chris Van Hollen (MD-8) was one of Members of Congress who attended. Representative Van Hollen, whose district houses the NIH, emphasized the national impact of medical research, remarking, “If we want to be a competitive nation, we need to invest in medical research.”
|MS Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Van Hollen|
|Thousands attended the Rally|
Due to the large number of attendees and the speakers, the Rally received considerable media attention. Throughout the day, CNN and 30 news broadcasts reported on the Rally. In addition, the Rally was extremely popular on social media sites throughout the afternoon. The Twitter hashtag #RallyMedRes was a top trending topic on Twitter globally, reaching more than 6,500 tweets from 11:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. The National MS Society’s MS Activist Twitter account “live-tweeted” the event to spread the word to all of our activists through the social media website.
This was a great event and will help drive our advocacy work this year to ensure that Congress provides significant funding for medical research in Fiscal Year 2014!
|The National MS Society's name appeared on the big screen!|