How many are aware that multiple sclerosis is the most common neurological disease in adults between the age of 20 and 40.. and that there are about 40,000 – 50,000 estimated cases in India alone?
The disease is incurable but timely treatment helps. A H Tobaccowala and the late Rehmut Fazalbhoy established the Multiple Sclerosis Society of India (MSSI) in 1985 to educate people on the crippling disease.
The society helps minimise its effect, both on patients and their families, by teaching them how to cope and meet the
challenges of everyday life.
The activities of the organisation gained momentum with the involvement of prominent neurologists and physiotherapists.
Its activities include identifying patients and providing them with free supplementary medicines. It also offers disability certificates with physio and occupational therapy at subsidised costs as well as counselling to homebound patients.
It also offers offer financial aid to needy patients, donate medicines and wheelchairs and invites delegates to conduct
Model-actor-producer Milind Soman’s involvement with the organisation happened by chance. He recalls, “I was jogging at Shivaji Park. MSSI was conducting its annual MS Walk. Sheela Chitnis, the chairperson, came over and introduced herself and since I was a known face, asked me to lend a helping hand. She told me about the degenerative disease that attacks the nervous system. After the first lesson I agreed immediately to help out in any way possible.”
That was 10 years ago. Ever since, Soman has supported MSSI in all its activities to raise funds and create awareness. He also participates in the Mumbai Marathon every year.
Anahita Vesuwala, the honorary secretary of MSSI, adds, “He ran the full Marathon for us this year. He visits patients at home and attend our annual get-togethers for patients and their families.”