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Multiple Sclerosis Society to mark golden anniversary of Leeds Grenville chapter

Elaine and John McClintock

Very little was known about multiple sclerosis (MS) 50 years ago, but thanks to people like George and Irene Fox, (daughter Ada McCoy had MS), the Leeds Grenville Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada was formed.

"It wouldn't have existed without the Foxes," said John McClintock, who has had MS since 1961.

To mark this milestone, the Leeds Grenville Chapter is celebrating its 50th anniversary at the Brockville Memorial Centre on Saturday, Sept. 19.

"We want to celebrate 50 years of helping people with MS, and we are very proud of our chapter," said fundraising chair Elaine McClintock.

From the beginning, the chapter's aim was to raise funds for research, serve clients and to educate the public about MS.

"Besides scooters, wheelchairs, walkers, bath chairs, other equipment and medical supplies are provided along with educational material, books, brochures, videos, workshops, special speakers, support meetings, mentorships, newsletters, potluck dinners and Christmas parties," said Elaine. "We have about 150 clients and all these items are to keep people at home."

Throughout the 50 years, there have been bingos, tag days, boat cruises, the sale of Halloween candy, Regal Cards rummage sales and more.

"As for fundraising, the chapter gets terrific response from all the businesses, industry, the banks and the community support for our activities," said Elaine. "It's just fantastic." 

Elaine mentioned that with all types of media assistance regarding their fundraising, this chapter has surpassed its intended efforts.

"The MS Walk was up $5,000, the carnations were up $5,000 and the sale of Christmas cakes was up $3,500," said Elaine. "The Spaghetti Dinner brings people out and other organizations like TISMA (Thousand Islands Street Machine Association) gives us proceeds from raffles and draws. Our head office says that the chapter is very efficient and effective, as we manage our funds well and raise a lot of money."

As for the cake story, it was John who enticed a baker friend to develop a specific cake recipe and to this day, the community has embraced this delicious dessert. So popular, that other chapters are selling the cake as a fundraiser.

"Our 18 MS Walks have raised over $500,000 of which 48 per cent goes to the Ontario Division," indicated Elaine. "Since the early ‘90s we have contributed $330,000 to MS research."

In fact, the Leeds Grenville Chapter has received three Gold Star and two Silver Star plaques for their contributions to MS research beyond what was budgeted.

Currently, there are 35 chapters and Eastern Ontario being one of the seven regions with many dedicated volunteers of all ages.

"We want to thank all the volunteers, leaders, the board and people like Les and Margaret Sye, Jim Chapman, Peter Cape and others for all their hard work over the years," added Elaine.

Although much has been done locally relative to accessibility, there is still social needs along with transportation and independent living units for young disabled people that require addressing.

The 50th anniversary reception starts at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m., catered by Maplehurst Catering Services and entertainment by fabulous A.J. Benoit and the Memory Makers.

In addition, the chair of the MS Society Board of Directors, Valerie Hussey, will be on hand to congratulate the local chapter for the work being done locally, as well as a doctor to talk about the various studies and research taking place.

Research continues in myelin repair drug B11B033, the protein Netrin-1, mesenchymal stem cells, the study of activity IL-1 molecule that promotes inflammation in MS, physical activity guidelines.

As of the fall 2014, 22 funded grants for MS research were announced in nine countries worldwide.

To date, there are 10 Health Canada approved disease-modifying therapies, with more on the horizon.

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by INSIDEBROCKVILLE
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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