There was a certain energy in the air as volunteers and patients alike arrayed in a myriad of colours and dressed with elaborate masks took their seats in K-Box Cineleisure and anxiously waited for the afternoon line-up of performances. It was the MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Care 6th Anniversary celebration on 31 October 2009 and the volunteers and patients alike have invested many hours of preparation in anticipation of this event. That afternoon, many MS patients and volunteers gathered together to showcase their singing prowess and to share testimonials of how MS Care has benefitted their lives.
Multiple Sclerosis occurs when the body’s immune response attacks a person’s central nervous system leading to varying stages of physical and cognitive disability. Indeed, while some patients arrived in wheelchairs, others had virtually imperceptible symptoms. MS Care was founded to provide patients with accessibility to aid like medication and services like counseling and physiotherapy. The organization also aims to ameliorate the psychological trauma caused by the disease by establishing a support network for the patients. Events such as this one were construed precisely to boost morale and build rapport within this support network. The celebration also serves to shed light on a disease often regarded with insouciance from the public.
|PHOTOS: Gabriel Seow|
The program consisted of an interesting mix of performances ranging from magical sleight of hand to modern renditions of popular old songs. However, it was a multi segment line dancing performance by volunteers decked in orange jumpsuits that stole the show. The event was summed up by a patient named Alvin who conveyed his thanks to the volunteers through a poignant allegory, likening them to “diamonds in my backyard”.
Ultimately, everyone went home a winner that afternoon as the event concluded with each patient being awarded a 50 dollar NTUC voucher. Ms Amelia Mok, the organizer for the event called the celebration a “huge success due to the enthusiastic response of the participants.” She cited the celebration as a prominent milestone for the organization which has grown from serving just 8 patients to serving over a hundred today. The recent establishment of a partnership with National University Hospital (NUH) has given birth to the MS assistance fund and the organization now receives a steady stream of patients referred from hospitals. With this in mind, Mok has also laid down future plans for the building of a facility to house all the patients under one roof.