Thursday, 17 November 2022

Rod and I warmly welcome you to Government House to celebrate 50 years of MS Australia and to thank you for the incredibly important work that you do for the 25,000 Australians who are living with multiple sclerosis.

When Multiple Sclerosis Australia was established in 1972, someone diagnosed with MS was told that there was no treatment, no cure, and no way of knowing how quickly you might lose your basic functions.

Now - and with a significant contribution of your organisation - that is no longer the case.

Through your dogged research, advocacy and funding, we now know so much about MS, the genetics of MS, and how the immune system works.

Many of you will have heard from MS Australia Head of Research Dr Julia Morahan and Deputy Head of Research Dr Hamish Campbell about the latest research, and how organisations across the world are working together in pursuit of a cure.

Those who are diagnosed with MS are often between the ages of 20 to 40 and it is three times more common in women than in men.

Rod’s sister, Julia, was in that age group when she was diagnosed with MS in the UK in the mid-1990s.

At a time when people should be thinking about starting a family, progressing their careers, travelling the world and living their life to the full, up to 10 Australians each week will be diagnosed with MS.

Your organisation has been at the forefront of MS research, but also has a vital role in improving support for management and care so that those who are diagnosed with the disease can live fulfilling and active lives.

In noting the degree of progress in MS research over the past five decades, it is equally important to look ahead at how we can ensure that everyone with MS has treatment options­ and prevent MS from progressing in the first place.

I was humbled to hear that in your golden anniversary year, you directed $7.1m towards some 26 projects focused on MS research – MS Australia’s largest-ever annual grant funding commitment.

All of those involved with MS Australia should be proud of all the outcomes that you have helped to achieve over the past 50 years, as every outcome brings us closer to an understanding of MS.

As joint patrons of the MS Society of SA and NT, Rod and I would like to thank the state-based organisation for providing care and support services to South Australians and their families living with MS.

To MS Australia, thank you for 50 years of empowering researchers to identify ways to treat, prevent and cure MS, and championing for Australia’s community of people affected by this condition.

Rod and I wish you well for the future and it is our sincere hope that the next 50 years brings a world without MS.