Our 15th year has been another encouraging and impactful one for people affected by MS.
We had some positive breakthroughs this year and we had the chance to (very briefly) reflect on all that we have achieved during the last 15 years. As the largest Not-For-Profit funder, educator and coordinator of MS research in Australia, we have committed over $4.1 million to MS research for the 2020 financial year. A part of this has come about due to an additional $700,000 in further funding for translational research and the stellar success of Kiss Goodbye to MS’ new fundraising campaign The May 50K, which raised $2.1 million in its first year. However, we gratefully thank all of our donors, no matter how large or small. We also very much thank the MS state societies who contributed to some of the funded research in the last financial year.
From a personal point of view, it was terrific to see The May 50K recently shortlisted by The Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) for a major national award. It is satisfying to see our fundraising experts, who work so hard to raise the funds that support our competitive and prestigious MS research, being appropriately recognised. All of the MS Research Australia team contributed to its success but I would like to acknowledge that our Head of Relationships, Fundraising and Development, Susan Williams and Community Fundraising Manager – Kiss Goodbye to MS, Tanja Voss, did an incredible job with The May 50K and I thank them for all of the late nights, early mornings and weekends to bring this to fruition. The May 50K is one of the most successful inaugural-year digital fundraising campaigns in our sector over the last decade and work is already underway to make year two even more successful.
Recently, we had another of those milestone moments for those affected by MS and those who have dedicated much of their lives to finding solutions to it; the first-ever approval in Australia to register a treatment for secondary progressive MS. It wasn’t long ago, that I was told by an MS expert, that he didn’t think we would ever have registered and approved treatments for progressive MS. Hopefully, by the time we come back to you in early 2020, we will have three!
But very far from this being an endpoint or a “job nearly done”, it reminds us that:
Much work is yet to be done but the exciting thing is that it’s all now very feasible, with your help.
Forty years ago, the interferons became the first-ever registered treatment for relapsing-remitting MS across the globe. They revolutionised our approach and our thinking about MS. These “world firsts” gave hope and belief to what is possible and what might lie ahead. Much has now changed in the armoury against relapsing MS but I firmly believe this recent announcement will be as important and as pivotal a point for people living with progressive MS as it was all those years ago for relapsing disease.