We had to pause some of our plans for our Stop MS Campaign, in both fundraising and research. But we’re now looking to the future and our plans for the autumn.
Supporting world leading MS research remains one of our top priorities as an organisation. We know that we must continue to invest in the future, through research. Because we know that finding treatments to slow the accumulation of disability is what people with MS want and urgently need.
Our proposed restructure plans have taken this commitment into account and we believe that the proposed changes will allow us to continue to support our vital research programme.
What happens to our Stop MS Appeal?
We’re half way through fundraising for our Stop MS Appeal. Following a few years raising funds with philanthropists, charitable trusts and companies, we launched publicly in autumn 2019. This fantastic launch was made possible with significant pro bono advertising support.
Of course, early in 2020 COVID-19 arrived, and it was right at that time that we should turn to the urgent needs of our community. We reshaped our services and support to ensure that no one living with MS would face this crisis alone.
Stopping MS remains our number one goal and the vital work of the Stop MS Appeal and our ten year research programme continues. Later on this year, as we emerge from the height of the pandemic and research laboratories are able to open once more, you will see more news about our programme and exciting plans for the future.
What about fundraising?
We’re planning the next burst of the Stop MS appeal in the autumn that will focus on keeping MS research moving, highlighting ways our research projects have adapted in the current climate. Donations to the appeal will be restricted to research as part of the Stop MS Appeal.
From October to the end of the year we plan to make the Stop MS Appeal the key focus of our website. And if you haven’t had the chance yet you’ll still be able to sign up for our virtual My MS Walk on our main website here, or get involved with our big one-off virtual MS Walk ‘event’ being held on 20 September.
Can I still donate?
The coronavirus crisis has affected much of our usual fundraising, with many key events being cancelled so donations to our research are more vital than ever. Donations towards Stop MS can be made by:
- Visiting our website here.
- Contacting our Supporter Care team: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0300 500 8084.
- And volunteer groups can continue to donate through finance group support, through BACs transfer or cheque. Just remember to state that you want it to go to Stop MS.
What about research?
Over the last few months coronavirus has had an impact on the timings of our work, but not it’s central focus. Rapid clinical trial backed up by advanced fundamental science, are now needed to complete our planned research. Our vital Stop MS research programme continues. You can read more about this on our main website here.
We surveyed our grant holders at the end of March, and more than 70% who responded reported significant disruption to their activities. We are doing everything we can to keep these projects going. However we have had to make the difficult decision to postpone our 2020 grant round until further notice due to a significant loss in income.
Some researchers have been redeployed to other areas of the NHS. But clinical trials staff, lab workers and MS researchers have adapted so they can carry out follow up visits by phone, analyse results at home and share ideas virtually. Many clinical trials have had to pause recruitment but have adapted to carry on in other ways as best as they can in the circumstances. Planned trials that have yet to start are also likely to be delayed. However, we are pleased that our MS-STAT2 trial has now been able to resume recruitment and we hope that recruitment will be able to open at other sites in the coming months.
The launch of our new clinical trials platform has been delayed due to COVID-19, but our ambition is still that, by 2025, we will be in the final stages of testing a range of treatments for everyone with MS.