Big Spirit grant dedicated to MS MoveS

By by Myra Ross - Friday, October 3 2014


Cait Evans, 23, has had her eyes opened about Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  And she wants yours opened too.

Although she has only worked as the Coordinator, Client Services, for the Fort McMurray branch of the MS Society of Canada (FMMS) since last January, her strategy and persistence in publicizing this year’s 15th anniversary of the MS Walk made quite a difference.

Last year, there were 38 walkers who raised a total of $8,000; this year, on May 3, there were 131 walkers who raised a total of $41,000.

The textbook definition of MS reads:  “Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system which is composed of the brain and spinal cord. The disease attacks the myelin which is a protective covering wrapped around the nerves of the central nervous system.”

Although there are currently between eight and 10 active clients diagnosed with MS in the Fort McMurray service area (and a contact list of more than 200 being affected by MS arising from the 2014 FMMS Walk), the larger picture is that:

  • Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis in the world, with 100,000 Canadians living with MS
  • 14,000 citizens residing in Alberta struggle with living with MS
  • 80 per cent of the Canadian diagnosed with MS are unemployed.

In June, it was announced that the FMMS Society would receive a Big Spirit grant, which is being dedicated to the local society’s MS MoveS program.

“Our MS MoveS program addresses mobility issues,” Cait explains.  “The cost for the first year is projected to be $5,000, so the grant covers 50 per cent of the program, which hosts three classes monthly with the view to improving mobility.  One is an education class, one is a water aerobics class and one is an adapted Yoga class.”

Cait affirms that FMMS is funded by pledges, donations and grants, such as the 2014 Big Spirit grant of $2,500.

“We are not funded by United Way, for example, or by the provincial health services,” she continues.  “And in our fundraising, 50 per cent is dedicated to research, 50 per cent is dedicated to client services.”

Working for a non-profit agency was a clear goal of Cait’s when she acquired a diploma and a year of university in Nova Scotia before joining her boyfriend in Fort McMurray and working for Events Wood Buffalo for a year.

“I left Events Wood Buffalo in October and noticed that the FMMS was looking for a coordinator.”

Usually, newcomers to Wood Buffalo arrive with a three or a five-year plan, but it looks like Cait will be planning to continue living in Fort McMurray – and working for the FMMS – for some time. 

“My mom and my one sister arrived from Nova Scotia to live here in September,” Cait reveals with an expressive grin and tone of voice.

With Cait’s dedication to advocating for MS clients in the region it could mean there will be more than a few of her family members participating in the 2015 MS Walk.

For more information on the FMMS, call, go to or email:

Cait Evans

Coordinator, Client Services & Development



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