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MS Society Still Reaches Out to Williams

November 25, 2000

I just can't let Montel Williams' diatribe against the National Multiple Sclerosis Society go unchallenged ("TV Host's Fight Against MS More Than Just Talk," by Cheryl Lavin, Nov. 20).

I am a volunteer for the society's Southern California chapter, a board member for five years and research advocate for the last two years. Williams charges that the society has "made a career out of us being sick" and that "the research isn't going to find a cure," instead "going for stopgap measures."

What makes Williams an authority? Yes, he has MS, but so do the more than 300,000 people with MS who utilized the society's services this year.

The truth is that the society was started 54 years ago by a volunteer to advocate for her brother who had the disease at a time when very little was known about it. From her efforts grew a national movement with chapters in all 50 states, programs and services that reach 80% of those diagnosed with MS and research efforts by the top experts in the country. The society is the largest private funder of MS research, raising and spending $30 million annually for it and working with the National Institutes of Health to fund the most promising research.

The society has reached out repeatedly to Williams but to no avail. We are most eager to join forces with him and rally against our common enemy. Working together, we can find the cure that much sooner.

The invitation stands.

FERN SEIZER

Beverly Hills

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