Beginning in 2003, National MS Society Scholarships have helped more and more students pay for college related expenses. The number of applicants continues to rise, but the funding level is not keeping pace with demand. Limited scholarship dollars allow us to fund only about one-third of applications. There are many more students who meet the criteria, and it’s truly frustrating to deny them a scholarship solely because of lack of money.
It is essential that our children are well educated so they can compete for quality jobs and secure their future. Finding the financial resources to fund MS Scholarships has become a priority for the Central New England Chapter, and we need your help to identify donors who are moved by the dream of a student who wants to go to college, and needs just a little help to make it happen.
Students of parents who have MS, or students who themselves have MS are often at risk of postponing school—possibly forever—because of family and financial burdens caused by MS. While the ability to repay a loan at today’s tuition rates is already daunting, actually getting a loan is becoming more difficult. Although an MS Scholarship won’t cover tuition at many colleges, it will help pay for books and student activity fees and more, and that can make the difference in whether a student goes to college or not.
There are many ways to support the National MS Society, including giving to direct assistance programs that provide home modifications, respite care, assistive equipment, and of course MS Scholarships. A financial gift to the MS Scholarship Program is a chance to help children of people with MS and students who have MS to move forward and achieve. When someone asks you how they can help, ask if they’d like to change the future and help a good student go to college.
The CDC has scheduled this week for December, in the hope that the second shot will be available by then to protect against H1N1 (popularly known as Swine Flu). Yes, people may need two shots for full protection this year — and yes, this means people with MS and those who care for them or live in the household.
Flu vaccines are safe — and highly recommended — for those with MS as long as a “killed” or de-activated vaccine is used. The “regular” flu shot is made this way. A nasal spray called “FluMist Intranasal” is not recommended for people with MS, especially for individuals taking Novantrone, Cytoxan, Imuran, or methotrexate, because it uses a weakened live vaccine. FluMist is considered safe for healthy children and teens, ages 5-17, and for healthy adults, ages 18-49. All others must roll up their sleeves for an injection.
At press time, the distribution of the vaccine for H1N1 was slow in getting to many locations and with limitied quantity. It is possible that 21-28 days should elapse between the first and second vaccination. Recommendations for people with MS will likely be exactly the same as advice for regular flu vaccine, according to Dr. Aaron Miller, the Society’s Chief Medical Officer.
Flu is a menace, but not a reason for panic. Flu shots work. Other wise practices include careful hand washing before eating, plenty of rest, and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
Check nationalMSsociety.org/flu or your health-care provider for the most up to date information.
We’re pleased to present our annual listing of Clinical Trials in MS 2009, featuring ongoing MS trials, as well as those that are being planned or that have been recently completed. This year’s list of 129 studies indicates an exciting time in MS research, with therapies progressing through the drug development pipeline. Check on research progress – and see if any trials that need volunteers would be useful to you or a family member. (See local MS Clinical Trials in VT, NH & MA.)
- For Spanish speakers: Q&A with Dr. Victor Rivera. New podcasts are on our national Web site featuring Dr. Victor Rivera, director of Maxine Mesinger MS Clinic in Dallas. He answers in Spanish questions about diagnosis, MS attacks, treatments, pregnancy, stress, memory problems and more. Go to nationalMSsociety.org/espanol.
- How did we do in 2008? The Society’s annual progress report is available online at nationalMSsociety.org. Click “About the Society” in the gray bar on top of the screen and select “Annual Reports.” Move Others tells the story of what the Society accomplished last year and profiles some of the inspiring people who helped do it. Complete financial information is also posted here to review online or print out.
Boston College Field Hockey Team raised $641 during their October 28 home game vs. Harvard (BC won 9-1). The funds support BC's Walk MS team, Murphy's Law, named for alumni teammate Kathleen Murphy (right) who has MS. On left is Leah DeCosta, Assistant Director, Sports Marketing, who works with Coach Ainslee Lamb on fundraising.