60 years of MS
In 1956 in Sydney, an Englishman named John Godfrey set about establishing a society in Australia that would “aid research on the causes and cures of multiple sclerosis and to provide aid and guidance” to those living with the condition – like his wife, Edith.
After consulting with the regional director of the USA’s National MS Society for advice on how to proceed, and being interviewed for two articles in the Sydney Morning Herald to raise awareness about “Australia’s most mysterious disease”, as second story was headlined, Godfrey printed a brochure calling for people interested in joining the board to attend a public meeting. It read:
Help Unlock the Mystery of MS
To Australian MS sufferers, we give you this message.
You are no longer alone.
You are part of a team, pledged to fight MS until it is defeated,
until MS stands not for multiple sclerosis, but for mystery solved!
Join the team. We need you.
Close to 100 people turned up, and so began the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Australia.
What we now know as Multiple Sclerosis Limited, or MS for short, bears little resemblance to the fledgling organisation that took 12 years to secure its first government funding, and whose early fundraising efforts included collecting countless butter papers and Kinkara Tea box tops.
But Godfrey’s key message remains completely unchanged, and for 60 years has driven every single person who has committed their time, effort, passion and money to ensuring everyone affected by multiple sclerosis could live well and rely on unconditional support.
There are too many people to name, but each and every one of them has contributed in no small way to the six decades of history we celebrate today. Whether through volunteering, donating or offering support, their work continues to inspire and humble us.
We look forward to the day, as John Godfrey once did, that multiple sclerosis is finally defeated. Until then, we are proud to stand with you and support you to live well.