Skip to main content.

Acts of Greatness

Acts of Greatness

The Acts of Greatness Campaign

Whether you or a loved one is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), life can suddenly turn on a dime. One day your body behaves normally, and the next it refuses to listen to you. MS can happen to anyone, without warning, and often in the prime of life. Over 77,000 Canadians are currently living with MS, one of the highest rates in the world.

Launched in 2017, with a financial objective of $75 million, the Acts of Greatness Campaign has provided valuable funding to help boldly define what is next in treating and ending MS. Through each Act of Greatness and the collective power of the MS community, we have accelerated, empowered and mobilized the community of researcher and people affected by MS.

Your continued support will help us achieve our Campaign goal and will give families, researchers and people living with MS more than just hope; it will accelerate research and discovery, improve the lives of those living with MS and move us all closer to finding a cure for this complex and unpredictable disease.

Whether you are living with MS, on the front lines of research, or someone who understands how life can turn on a dime, your Act of Greatness makes a difference.

What will your Act of Greatness be?

In Canada, there is one organization with national reach that can support people on their MS journey and tip the scales of MS research to change lives forever – the MS Society of Canada. Through the Acts of Greatness Campaign, we will mobilize a nation to accelerate the pace of MS breakthroughs and empower people affected by MS to live their best lives. Donations to the Acts of Greatness Campaign support:

Advancing Research and Accelerating Treatment

From foundational science to population health and health services research, investing in research helps broaden our understanding of MS which improves outcomes. The MS Society is committed to funding new areas of exploration with an emphasis on collaborative research grants. This will ensure that leading-edge research remains a key component of the MS discovery and innovative research programs.

Living with MS means living with uncertainty. With an unpredictable and episodic illness like MS, most people live with anxiety about their future health and wellness. The MS Society is seeking to reduce the burden of fear by hastening research results to give people better treatments faster.

Cultivating the Next Generation of Researchers

The MS Society enables the best scientific talent from around the globe and helps Canada remain a powerhouse in MS research. Our programs combine leading-edge training, scholarly funding, and opportunities for networking. This emphasis on collaboration connects our researchers and trainees to establish strategic research collaborations, mentorship programs and research projects that span the world. Our ability to accelerate the pace of MS research depends on growing the next generation of researchers and broadening our network of brilliant minds.

Empowering People Affected by MS with Effective Tools and Support

The MS Society of Canada is often the first destination for Canadians looking for information, guidance and support following a diagnosis. To better support their journey, we are expanding the MS Knowledge Network – Canada’s most robust, evidence-based hub for MS information for anyone in need of help and support. Through the MS Knowledge Network, we are building a community-facing team to provide personalized service that includes answers to key questions on the latest research, treatment option, diet and exercise, continuing care, caregiver support, and how to live better with MS.

Advancing Research and Accelerating Treatment

We will not experience a world without MS if we neglect to invest in critical research. In the past five years Health Canada has approved eight new therapeutics for the treatment of MS and submissions have been filed to approve one more. MS drug approvals are only possible when an existing body of research exists to support potential safety and efficacy for future treatments. Thanks to you and our Acts of Greatness supporters we are privileged to be investing in the most promising MS research including over 400 research projects that will continue to: advance treatment & care, enhance well-being, bring us closer to preventing MS and allow us to understand and halt disease progression.

The International Progressive MS Alliance (the Alliance) - founded in 2012 - is a growing multi-organizational group that brings together the world’s leading experts to put an end to progressive MS. As one of the founding and managing members of the Alliance, we have continued to maintain a leadership seat at the table, contributing over $3 million to the initiative, of which over $800 thousand was raised through the Acts of Greatness Campaign, thanks to donor support.

Also referred to as CanProCo, the Canadian Prospective Cohort to Understand Progression in People Living with MS is a unique over $10 million initiative, bringing together nearly 50 leading MS researchers from various disciplines across Canada. Generously funded in-part by Acts of Greatness donors, through a collaborative effort, researchers hope to understand why some people progress in their MS while others do not. The research team seeks to understand risk factors and markers of MS progression, in turn improving the lives of people living with MS in Canada and around the world.

Over the last few decades, pharmaceutical companies have shifted their focus to invest in later-stage clinical research while government funding agencies continue to pour funds into early academic discovery research. The result has been an ever-widening funding gap in the research and development pipeline between lab-based research and clinical trials, which has caused the discovery of new treatments to fall behind.

The MS Society of Canada and the National MS Society (U.S.) have risen to the occasion of bridging this gap by advancing new funding models with a goal of de-risking drug discovery and accelerating the development of new treatments for MS through Fast Forward grants. Most recently, through an Acts of Greatness Fast Forward grant, Dr. Fang Liu, a Senior Scientist at Toronto's CAMH, has filed patents and is investigating promising compounds with her eyes set on bringing them to market to benefit the progressive MS community.

Cultivating the Next Generation of Researchers

To accelerate MS research, we need to ensure we have brilliant scientists to lead the way. This philosophy is what drives the MS Society to invest heavily in our next generation of MS researchers through the endMS National Training Program (NTP). The NTP is composed of two initiatives: the annual endMS Summer School and the Scholar Program for Researchers IN Training (SPRINT). These programs engage and support the brightest scientists in Canada, cementing their interest in uncovering the mysteries of multiple sclerosis. Generous Acts of Greatness donors are to thank for providing sustainable funding for this critical program that contributes to building a talent pipeline of future MS researchers.

An impressive 54 students have been funded through Acts of Greatness and have participated in our year-long intensive endMS SPRINT program, a collaborative, mentor-based catalyst program for graduate students and post-doctoral/clinical fellows to accelerate and support their journey as MS researchers. These SPRINTers were selected through a competitive call for applications that sought to identify the most promising young minds in the country. SPRINT trainees were given the unique opportunity to work in small, interdisciplinary groups of students from across Canada on an MS-focused research study that is typically outside of their field of primary interest. Our SPRINT trainees have built connections with peers, learned about the importance of collaborative research and have exchanged research ideas, while working closely with a senior researcher who mentored them throughout the process on a rigorous project.

240 endMS Summer School participants have been funded through Acts of Greatness and have had the opportunity to participate in a one-week interactive education program, enhancing their knowledge and skills in MS research. Summer School areas of focus - which are identified annually have included themes such as: The Biology of Attack and Repair in MS, Environmental and Lifestyle Factors Associated with MS and Moving MS Research Forward through Clinical and Biomedical Partnerships. The focus alternates between basic research one year and clinical & population health research the next. Diverse learning opportunities exist for Summer School participants including lecture-based plenary sessions, facilitated workshops, and opportunities to interact with people affected by MS. Summer School involves an interdisciplinary agenda that strives to offer participants the most comprehensive understanding of MS.

Impressively 59 out of our 90 SPRINT alumni remain actively involved in the program through participating, supporting, and promoting the endMS Training Program. These alumni have served as mentors, members of the endMS National Training Program committees, and have participated in summer schools as volunteers, presenters and workshop leaders. The SPRINT alumni have made vast contributions to MS research and have received honours and awards including the prestigious Canada Research Chair.

Empowering People Affected by MS with Effective Tools and Support

Knowledge is power. In 2016 the MS Society launched the MS Knowledge Network: the Society's hub of knowledge and expert navigators, providing consistent, quality MS information and support for anyone in Canada. Funded by Acts of Greatness donors, MS Navigators provide the MS community with trusted information on all aspects of life with MS via phone, email, social media channels and live web chat. Over 25,000 individuals have accessed the MS Knowledge Network looking for support in a variety of areas including:

  • Sourcing reliable information about multiple sclerosis and allied conditions
  • MS symptom management
  • News about accessible programs and services across Canada
  • Making sense of advances in MS research
  • Guides and online resources for everyday use, e.g. how to apply for CPP, how to talk to children about MS
  • Help navigating local health and community services
  • Practical assistance finding income and employment support, financial planning

For those looking to navigate MS resources more independently, the Knowledge Network also includes a web-based library composed of hundreds of trusted and validated MS articles. The library is hosted on the MS Society of Canada's website and is accessible 24/7.

Advancements in our level of understanding about MS and disease progression have swelled over the years. Contrary to what we know now, people living with MS used to be told to reserve their energy and avoid exercising, women were warned against childbearing and therapeutics to prevent disease progression did not exist. The MS Knowledge Network is a reliable, central resource for all those affected by MS to stay current on all aspects of the disease, empowering those living with MS to live their best lives.

For more information on the impact of Acts of Greatness donations, please click here.

Because of the generosity and tremendous effort put forth by you and members of the MS Society of Canada community, we are poised to reach our $75 million Acts of Greatness campaign target in 2022. Here is what we have left to accomplish:

  • Support the most promising MS Research addressing: Therapy & Clinical Tool Development, Cause & Risk Factors, Symptom Management Quality of Life, Repair in MS, Nerve Damage & Triggers of MS, Mechanisms of Progression and more
  • Support 49 students who will become the next generation of MS researchers, from across Canada, participate in the 2022 endMS National Training Network
  • Support income security for those affected by MS disability through the MS Knowledge Network
  • Provide navigation for those seeking professional health services as well as programs & services in their areas

The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada community has been demonstrating Acts of Greatness for more than 74 years. Acts of Greatness have led to improved quality of life for all those affected by MS. As we near our campaign finish line, it is critical for us to take action and finish our campaign on a high note. What will your next Act of Greatness be?