This year is the European Year of the Brain, and 2014 also marks the 25th birthday of the EMSP, the European MS Platform.
Unequivocally and visibly astonished, that’s what I am right this minute. The quality of yet another MS organisation and the hard work they do, makes me want to jump up and down. Digging deeper into the work of the EMSP because of their upcoming two-day conference in Dublin, I can only say one thing: ‘People with MS are in very, very good hands, with people with- or without MS standing up for them wherever they are.’
The longer I write for those who cannot do so themselves, and for those who need some encouragement, the more I realise that my –and indeed our- future isn’t bleak at all. I sincerely adore the Irish MS Society (MS Ireland), and hope you can find strength in your societies as well.
Over 600,000 people in Europe now have one of the different stages of MS, with the global rate having increased by 10% in the last 5 years. This is an awful percentage in a very short time frame if you react from your heart but in reality, there are different reasons why.
One of them can be attributed to the way neuroimaging keeps improving as time goes on, as well the number of neurologists and actual neuroimaging machines. Over 2.3 to 2.5 million people worldwide have MS, but seeing how difficult it is to diagnose MS, many more may not be aware they have MS.
This means that too many people deal with the harsh reality MS leaves after diagnosis. A lot still needs to be done research-wise. We still don’t know what causes MS, how it can be stopped, perhaps even reversed and/or how people with continually increasing disability can be served best of all. As EMSP says on their website, “For most Europeans diagnosed with MS, the condition involves an unpredictable, life-long progression of complex symptoms.” That unpredictability needs to go, the progression needs to be reversed, life-long needs to change into ‘ah-it-will-be-over-in-a-week-or-so.’
For those reasons, the European MS Platform will host its Spring Conference in Ireland on the 8th and the 9th of May in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin. The theme of this year’s conference is “Care where it counts – in the journey with MS.” The EMSP therefore gladly invites carers, people with MS as well as experts and people from the professional field in Europe to discuss how rehabilitation and the needs of carers and young people with MS can be addressed on day 1. On day 2, in organisation with MS Ireland, key developments and best practice in MS will be discussed.
Some of the hot topics of the conference will be the launch of a new European MS Platform programme called ‘Believe and Achieve,’ aimed at boosting employment for young people with multiple sclerosis. There will also be 6 different workshops where participants can debate topics such as carers’ concerns and possible social isolation (for the full programme, please click here).
Another highlight will be the presentation of a new video on the impact of living with MS in Ireland, as part of EMSP’s Under Pressure project and a unique training course on nursing in Ireland.
Speakers will include Emma Rogan, Peter Feys, Jacinta Morgan, Ruth Herbert, Aidan Larkin, Peter Flachenecker and many more.
The conference, with interactive debates and a mix of presentations, will serve as the perfect tool to learn about new developments and hear from people with MS and their experiences. Because EMSP celebrates its 25th birthday this year, the Spring Conference will also serve to plan ahead for the future while celebrating the advancement on the European stage of so many different aspects of multiple sclerosis. To mark this special occasion, a gala dinner and entertainment will also be held.
Find the Programme and Registration here.
A little bit more about the European MS Platform
The EMSP, located in Brussels (Belgium), was set up in 1989 and is the umbrella organisation for 38 MS Societies from 34 countries. The platform stands for people with MS wherever they may be in Europe, and represents the interests of MS societies at the European level. Their mission is as follows:
- Exchanging and distributing info in regards to MS and all its issues related to people with MS
- Boosting different kinds of research in relation to MS through established medical and other organisations.
- Cheering on the setting up of joint action programmes in conjunction with national MS societies throughout Europe, with the aim of improving the quality of their services
- Being a pivotal point of contact for liaison with EU institutions, the Council of Europe and other EU organisations to propose new measures that will advance the rights of people with disabilities and to safeguard full, effective participation in society.
Check out the EMSP website for more information on what they do.
If you want to read the EMSP constitution, please click here.
For more on what EMSP does, please check out some of their high quality reports:
European Multiple Sclerosis Platform (EMSP) aisbl
Rue Auguste Lambiotte 144/8
Tel.: +32 (0)2 304 50 15
Fax: +32 (0)2 305 80 11
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