FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Britain Resident Named MS Ambassador Of The Year
NEW BRITAIN, Conn. The National MS Society, Greater Connecticut Chapter named at its recent Annual Meeting Mike Demers the 2006 MS Ambassador of the Year. The award ceremony and annual meeting was held at the Hartford Marriott in Rocky Hill, Conn., on Sunday, March 4.
“Mr. Demers has moved and inspired us through his courage in the face of adversity,” said Karen E. Butler, vice president of communications. “Although the effects of his disease worsened each day, Mr. Demers worked passionately with the chapter to raise awareness and give a face to multiple sclerosis. He never shied away, nor did he ever decline an opportunity to share with others the potentially debilitating effects of MS.”
A resident of New Britain, Conn., Demers, 44, is the married father of two. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1999. The disease has affected his speech, causing his words to slur, and his mobility, so much so that he was dependent on a wheelchair within just five short years after diagnosis. In 2006, Demers and his then 9-year-old daughter, Maddie, teamed with the chapter to raise awareness and promote the annual walk event. The pair helped localize the fight against MS, volunteering as models for billboards and print ads, spokespeople for radio and television morning shows and as talent for broadcast public service announcements (PSA). As a result, no other event in the history of the chapter experienced the extensive media coverage than that garnered for the 2006 MS Walk. Unable to attend the award ceremony, due to the increasingly debilitating effects of his disease, Demers’ daughter accepted on his behalf.
There are more than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Demers, diagnosed with multiple sclerosis an oftentimes debilitating disease affecting the central nervous system. The cause is unknown, and, as a result, there currently is no cure. Funds raised through chapter events, such as the MS Walk, ensure the continuation of scientific research to find a cure and provide for vital programs and services offered by the chapter to Connecticut residents diagnosed with MS.
“When I was first diagnosed, I was angry and could only think about how unfair it seemed to be for my wife and children,” said Demers, who is now confined to his home. “As it has turned out, I have learned to deal with it better because of my family. Their support has kept me going, and inspired me to stay in the fight by raising awareness and allowing others to see, through me, the visible effects of this baffling disease.”
For more information on multiple sclerosis, the chapter, its efforts to end the devastating effects of the disease and the many ways to help, please go to http://www.ctfightsms.org/.
NOTE TO MEDIA:
For More Information
Contact Karen E. Butler
Vice President, Communications
Phone: 860.714.2300, ext. 230
Cell Phone: 860.997.4487