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We are pleased to announce that $5 million has been awarded for an historic MS research project within the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) thanks in large part to the tireless work of MS activists across the country who helped to secure the funding.
This is a tremendous victory for the MS movement as it is the first time that multiple sclerosis has ever received its own line item allocation under CDMRP, a program funded through the Defense Department. The new program is listed in a multi-functional funding package that Congress approved, which includes the defense and homeland security appropriation bills as well as a continuing resolution that will keep the government operating until March of next year.
The establishment of this new avenue of research funding for MS is a vivid example of the power of advocacy and the influence of a grass roots campaign. This movement took impetus in the fall of 2006 when MS activists went door to door and engaged online tools to collect more than 100,000 signatures supporting a research program for MS within the CDMRP.
Building on this impetus, Society Chapters with their MS activists and our Federal Advocacy team in Washington, DC participated in hundreds of congressional meetings on the Hill and in home states. They took the case to the media, to town hall forums and testified before Congress. They also enlisted the support of other individuals and organizations to help in this effort.
One such individual was Congressman Russ Carnahan who put the request forward when he was apparently moved by the disturbing accounts that suggest U.S. veterans who served in the Mideast Gulf Wars have an increased risk of developing MS. He led a multi-Member letter of support for the request which garnered the signatures of 63 Members of Congress.
“Funding for this research has the promise to help identify the potential link between MS and military service – such findings could help unlock keys to the disease and eventually lead us to a cure, helping people affected by MS around the entire world,” advised Congressman Carnahan.
Other allies who helped petition Congress for this new MS research funding included the American Academy of Neurology, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, United Spinal, AMVETS, the Vietnam Veterans of America, and the Disabled American Veterans.
Stony Brook University Hospital
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