Campaign to fight MS spearheaded by Christine Sinclair raises record funds

TORONTO — A&W’s “Burgers to Beat MS campaign,” spearheaded by Canadian soccer captain Christine Sinclair, raised a record $1.85 million this year.

The restaurant chain has raised more than $11 million since 2009 to fund research and help provide programs and services for Canadians living with multiple sclerosis.

According to the MS Society, Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis in the world, with an estimated one in 340 Canadians living with the disease.

Sinclair, whose mother has MS, became the face of the campaign this summer — making appearances and speaking out.

Last year’s campaign raised more than $1.6 million.

For the fifth year in a row, an A&W outlet in Grande Prairie, Alta., ranked as the top fundraising restaurant in Canada, raising more than $45,000.

MS is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord). The disease attacks myelin — the protective covering of the nerves, causing inflammation and often damaging the myelin, which is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses through nerve fibres.

The effects are wide-ranging and unpredictable: extreme fatigue, lack of co-ordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes.

The cause remains a mystery — the belief is lifestyle, environmental, genetic and biological factors all contribute.

The disease is most commonly diagnosed in people between 15 and 40. Women are three times more likely to develop MS than men.

Currently there is no cure.

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