Since 2002, a plucky band of Stettler residents have raised more than $100,000 for the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Central Alberta through events like the May long weekend barbecue.
The money goes to supporting local individuals who have been diagnosed with the disease, as well as to research and improvements.
Philippa Brysiuk has been living with MS for years.
“It has been going,” she said of her condition. “Some days are diamonds, some days are stone.”
Nowadays, it’s about a 50/50 split for Brysiuk, she said.
Even though the weather on Friday, May 2o barbecue was cold and grey, people came out to help the group raise a total of $700. Brysiuk’s employer, ScotiaBank, matched the donations bringing the total raised to $1,400.
“We did really well, actually,” Brysiuk said, before adding with a laugh, “I think some of those were pity donations, given the weather.”
Brysiuk’s team, “Memory Lapses,” is made up of her colleagues, family and friends who all want to “eradicate MS,” Brysiuk said. The good news for Brysiuk, and others with MS, is that promising research seems to be getting closer to that goal every day.
Trials are ongoing in both Canada and the United States for different treatments, with most research focusing on treatments involving stem cells.One such treatment in eastern Canada took a medical student who, having been diagnosed with severe MS, had progressed quickly to the worst stages of the disease.
Today, he lives virtually free of MS.
While MS is not a genetic disease, people with MS often have clusters of autoimmune illnesses in the family, like Type I diabetes (which is the case for Brysiuk) or rheumatoid arthritis.