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Ford City marks Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week

| Wednesday, March 13, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

FORD CITY – Monday marked the official start of Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week in the borough as council so proclaimed at its meeting.

“I have MS,” said councilwoman Kim Bish.

She said she knows many people in Ford City and Kittanning who also have been diagnosed with MS and believes it is crucial to raise public awareness about the disease and to push for more funding for research.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's website: MS is considered to be an immune-mediated disease in which the body's immune system attacks the central nervous system.

Frank Austin, member of the MS Society, said in a telephone interview that about one in every 100 people has MS.

He said people experience a wide range of symptoms with varying stages of progression.

“Everybody has their own MS,” said Austin. “In my own case, it affects every part of my life.”

But because the disease is not considered to be life threatening, not enough money is spent to invest in research, he said.

The cost of medication is as much as $60,000, said Austin. He said that even with medical insurance, a 30 percent co-pay can cost patients $18,000 “for a drug that doesn't make you better and doesn't make you worse.”

People can support research funding through monetary donations or by participating in walks and bike rides organized through the National Multiple Sclerosis Society: www.nationalmssociety.org.

In other business, council:

• Voted 6-0 to hire Paul Butler, Richard Giustini and Andrew Tantanella as part-time police officers at $12.70 an hour for a 12-month probationary period, pending exams and background checks.

• Voted 6-0 for the borough's participation in the 2013 Summer Lunch Program.

• Voted 6-0 authorizing Vergari to sign the proclamation for Ford City Hockey Day on March 23.

• Voted 6-0 granting permission to the Ford City Hose Co. and the Ford City Renaissance Community Partnership to hold the second annual Street Fair Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.

• Announced garbage will be picked up on Thursday, March 28 rather than on the following day, Good Friday.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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