March 10-18 marks Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Week, when people all over the world come together to raise awareness about the disease and encourage others to join the movement toward a world free of MS.

Every hour in the United States, someone is diagnosed with MS. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to understanding and treating the disease.

Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with more than twice as many women as men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 400,000 people in the United States and 2.1 million worldwide.

Studies show that whites are about twice as likely to have MS as African-Americans. Black Americans who develop MS have a later age of disease onset than white Americans (age 33.7 vs. 31.1, respectively).

The National MS Society is a prominent force in forging connections among people with MS: friends and colleagues who raise awareness and funds, people who treat those with MS and people who research ways to stop MS.

MS Awareness Week kicked off in New York with a multi-channel public service awareness campaign featuring Noah “40” Shebib, the charismatic 28-year-old producer and songwriter who is a major contributing force to rapper Drake’s meteoric rise to fame. The PSAs will be spotlighted, pro bono, on three mega-electronic billboards in Times Square during the week.

Later this month, Dr. Mary Hughes will be a guest speaker on Tom Joyner’s Doctor Day. Hughes is chair of the National MS Society’s African American Advisory Council. This chapter of the MS society was created to advise and support the society on the best approaches to reach and engage those affected by MS in the African-American community.

For more information and a list of events, visit