Washington, DC (NAPSI) - Creating a world free of multiple sclerosis (MS) requires an international collaborative effort. Every May, MS Societies around the world unite on World MS Day, this year on May 29, to raise awareness about MS.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease that affects the central nervous system.

MS can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, slurred speech, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory, paralysis, blindness and more. These may be permanent or may come and go. Most people are diagnosed between ages 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men having the disease. MS affects more than 2.1 million worldwide.

Advances in research are moving people closer to stopping the disease, restoring function and ending MS forever. In less than two decades, MS has moved from being an untreatable disease to one where there are now treatment options for those with relapsing MS, the most common form of the disease. More new therapies are in the pipeline offering hope to people with all forms of MS, but so far there is still no way to stop MS or to restore lost function.

The National MS Society is supporting 350 research projects around the world, including the initial launch of the first International Progressive MS Collaborative, the largest effort to date to speed research to stop progressive forms of MS.

These efforts to connect those who want to stop MS, restore nerve function damaged by MS and end the disease for all time are already leading to a growing number of victories:

• The International MS Genetics Consortium has discovered new MS risk genes.

• New and creative platforms to bring together top scientists are advancing research in the link between vitamin D and MS, pediatric MS, and quality-of-life strategies to improve long-term disease management outcomes.

• There is better understanding of the scientific mechanisms that lead to disease progression and to accelerating the development of new therapies.

But there is still much to do before the world is free of MS:

• Whether you volunteer, bike, walk, advocate, educate, support—every connection counts and moves us closer to a world without MS.

• Learn more about the World MS Day campaign at national MSsociety.org and explore the personal mottos of young people affected by MS, including Breea, who was diagnosed with MS at age 18 and is studying to become a nurse.

Find out how you can become a part of the global movement and what mottos help guide people living with MS. Visit www.nationalMSsociety.org.