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Alaska Joins Expanded Chapter of the National MS Society


Greater Northwest Chapter will provide more resources
to people living with multiple sclerosis in Alaska

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska office of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has united with the organization's Greater Washington Chapter to increase programs, services and research advances for the estimated 10,000-plus people living with the disease in both states.

The newly expanded Greater Northwest Chapter will operate from offices in Anchorage and Seattle, which will serve as the hubs of programs, services, events, advocacy, research updates and other resources for people living with MS, their family members, friends, physicians and caregivers.

"We are looking forward to learning about each other and finding new ways to work together more effectively and efficiently to serve people living with multiple sclerosis and to help achieve the vision of a world free of MS," said Greater Northwest Chapter President Patty Shepherd-Barnes.

Major fundraising events will continue to give people the opportunity to support local programs and services along with research into MS treatments and a cure. This spring, Alaska will host Walk MS events at seven different sites: Anchorage, April 17; Fairbanks and MatSu Valley/Wasilla, May 1; Copper Valley and Soldotna, May 15; Juneau, May 22; and Ketchikan, July 31. The Bike MS event will take place this fall.

"Many people in Alaska have connections to people in the Seattle area, so it's a union that makes sense. We are all part of the greater Northwest," said Tim Reed of Soldotna, who serves on the Greater Northwest Chapter Board of Trustees.

Mike Irmen of Eagle River, another Chapter Board member from Alaska, added: "This is a very positive move for people in Alaska. We'll now have access to even more resources to make life better for people with MS and their families."

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. It usually strikes people between the ages of 20 and 50 with varied and unpredictable symptoms including fatigue, numbness, loss of balance, vision problems and paralysis. There is no cure for MS, but advances in treatments have helped people live with and manage the disease.

The mission of the National MS Society is to mobilize people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS. For more information, go to www.MSnorthwest.org or call 1-800-344-4867.

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