One Mom's Fight For MS Awareness - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Christine Devine

One Mom's Fight For MS Awareness

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MS no more! In 'Christine's Community' how one supermom has put the fight against multiple sclerosis on the map.

You are diagnosed with a debilitating disease. What do you do? Nancy Davis says when doctors told her she had multiple sclerosis she was told to just go home and go to bed. Instead, this 33-year mother of three went out and fought. While her affluence was sure to guarantee her own care she went to work for others facing her same scare and reality. That was 20 plus years ago. Now, the mother of five, Davis is gearing up for her 21st year of Race to EraseMS.

While there is no MS in my family, a relative did marry a man who has the gene in the family. My interest is for their child. The man's mother is bedridden, and has nearly died several times, amongst the most severe of cases. I was invited into the Davis home to learn more about MS as her team went to work in the new year. Dr. Leslie Weiner head of USC Neurology was keynote speaker.

On the medical front, Davis' goal was to pull doctors working around the country to into one big battle. Each year the best of the best in the battle against MS gather to compare notes, ideas, studies, and passion. This joint venture also means they're not duplicating efforts that have failed or are already proven to work. Their free forum invites anyone who needs to know this info.

On the Hollywood front, she tapped into celebrity to take her flight to the forefront. Her star-studded fundraiser in May is a Los Angeles highlight. Last year the Osborne family, as in Ozzy Osborne, was honored after son Jack was diagnosed with MS. Paris Hilton is a family friend and an early supporter. From the music world stars from Avril Lavigne, to Heart, to Elton John have performed at the gala. Orange is the theme color and I'm always surprised by how Davis and her young twin daughters have each come to find yet another fabulous orange colored ball gown. Supporters can buy everything from orange tee-shirts to orange juice. Davis also has a signature jewelry line Peace and Love.

Their next gala and medical meeting is the first weekend in May. Friday is the black-tie fundraiser with a medical forum open to the public on Saturday, May 3 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Century City.

MS is as new to me as was to Davis. This Cali girl from Denver has some stats that may surprise those not-in-the-know. MS she says has higher rates in cold-weather regions, 10 times higher. For example, in Denver one in 450 have MS compared to Los Angeles one in 10 thousand. Women are three times as likely to be diagnosed. There are 100 genes associated with MS and different with each family The fastest increase is among adult women. It is more rare in children but in one case as early as three years old.

There are six hospitals tied to the program, Centers Without Walls, including USC. Race to EraseMS is also working with Cedars Sinai Medical Center in regulating imaging nationwide so doctors can better interpret the MRIs and gauge success. She says there are nine treatments, all anti-inflammatory. Nancy is a fighter and has no fears in challenging the doctors at hand. There are 50 clinical trials in humans around the world. A drug used in Europe was recently turned down in the U.S. by the FDA, an issue with its study.

The heartbreaking part, is all drugs they say, have a downside. One woman says her adult daughter won't take any due to side effects. Davis recommends anyone who has MS to take vitamin D. The organization is also looking at salt and sodium affecting immune response.

As Nancy Davis gets going in 2014, the thrill is seeing so many living with MS and having a good quality of life. She says by the year 2015 multiple sclerosis will be an 11-billion dollar disease. A cure, she says, is on the way. For my relative's sake, I hope so!

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