Friday, March 30, 2007

Deadline Nears for DoD Funding Bill

Contact Your Representative During the Recess
Interest continues to grow in providing $15 million to the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for multiple sclerosis (MS) research within the annual Department of Defense appropriations bill. The upcoming Congressional recess will be a key time to emphasize this issue. There are several ways you can reach your Representative back in their home districts April 2-14. You can:
  • Call your Representative's district office.
  • Make an appointment to visit with your Representative in the district.
  • Attend a community or town hall meeting. Call the district office for a schedule.
To find your Representative’s district contact information, visit:
Ask them to sign on to the Dear Colleague letter being circulated in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Rick Renzi (R-AZ). The deadline to sign on recently has been extended until April 20.

Consider the following information when speaking with your Representative:
MS is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system and is generally diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, the prime of life. There is no cure for MS and symptoms are unpredictable. Current medical treatments are not effective for many people and cannot be tolerated by many others.

Unfortunately, the National Institutes of Health, currently the primary source of funding for MS research, is reducing its investment over the next couple years. Supplementing current MS research with additional resources from the DoD could help further investigate the causes of such neurological disorders, explore additional treatments, and help find a cure. Preliminary evidence suggests that Gulf War veterans could have an increased risk of developing MS.
  • A recent study in the Annals of Neurology, for example, identified 5,345 cases of MS among U.S. veterans that were deemed "service-connected." The number of service-connected cases was a significant increase from previous studies.
  • An epidemiologic study found an unexpected, two-fold increase in MS between 1993 and 2000 in Kuwait, which suggests a potential environmental trigger for MS.
  • A 2004 report from a study group commissioned by the VA suggests more research must be done on the potential link between MS and combat service.
  • The Congressionally-mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (RAC) found that evidence supports a probable link between exposures to neurotoxins and the development of neurological disorders.

The DoD has an obligation to fund research into MS related to Gulf War service. This research would not only benefit our Gulf War veterans, but could help move us closer to a world free of MS for all those living with the disease.

Be an MS Activist. Join the Movement at

More than 100,000 Sign Petition for MS Research Funding

Chapter Competition Winners are Recognized

Congratulations to every chapter for their efforts during the recent petition drive for MS research funding! Through hard work, diligent grassroots, and savvy cyber-advocacy, we collected a total of 100,110 petition signatures. During the recent MS Public Policy Conference, CDs with all the signatures were delivered to Capitol Hill and used as support in asking for increased federal funding for MS research.

Each chapter deserves a lot of credit for helping achieve this impressive level of support. Some chapters in particular gathered a considerable number of signatures during this challenge.

Overall, the Delaware Chapter collected the most signatures per capita. The Central New England Chapter collected more signatures total than any other chapter. And six other chapters are recognized for efforts. While no chapter met the exact parameters of our interim challenge, these chapters came in with the next greatest numbers of signatures. They each will receive an autographed copy of Rain Pryor’s book, Jokes My Father Never Taught Me: Life, Love, and Loss with Richard Pryor.

· Utah State Chapter
· Southern California Chapter
· Northern California Chapter
· Central North Carolina Chapter
· Michigan Chapter
· Wisconsin Chapter

Below are the final, actual numbers of signatures for every chapter:

Central New England 11,110
Utah State 3,867
Southern California 3,799
Northern California 3,303
Central North Carolina 3,271
Michigan 3,213
Wisconsin 3,160
Upstate New York 3,112
Greater Delaware Valley 3,107
New York City 3,058
Allegheny District 2,523
Mid Florida 2,315
Greater Illinois 2,267
Lone Star 2,266
Delaware 2,077
Mid Atlantic 2,074
National Capital 1,703
Eastern North Carolina 1,620
Ohio Buckeye 1,618
Georgia 1,506
Central Pennsylvania 1,390
North Central States 1,304
Indiana State 1,296
Minnesota 1,289
Mid America 1,226
North Florida 1,197
Oregon 1,100
Maryland 1,013
Gateway Area 979
Greater Washington 966
South Florida 833
Mid South 805
Colorado 740
Mid Jersey 708
Oklahoma 699
Pacific South Coast 686
Arizona 651
Greater Connecticut 644
Alabama 621
Maine 606
Blue Ridge 554
Louisiana 521
Greater North Jersey 508
Long Island 437
West Virginia Division 417
North Western Ohio 401
North Central Texas 397
Rhode Island 339
Nebraska 309
Hampton Roads 301
Central Virginia 298
Kentucky/SE Indiana 295
Southern New York 281
Ohio Valley 268
Arkansas Division 221
West Texas Division 201
Nevada Division 170
Wyoming Division 155
Great Basin Sierra Division 132
Idaho Division 126
Vermont Division 124
Rio Grande Division 115
Alaska Division 113
Inland North West 113
Mississippi Division 107
Montana Division 93
Hawaii Division 84
Panhandle Division 81
Western Connecticut 67
South Central &
Western Kansas Division 39
Don’t Know 13,121

TOTAL 100,110