HARTFORD, CT - As the sun rises Tuesday, March 12, the lawn of the Connecticut State Capitol Building will be awash in orange—thousands of orange flags. For a second year, activists and volunteers will gather before dawn to plant the brightly colored flags on the state capitol grounds. Each flag represented one of 6,000 Connecticut residents battling multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating disease.
“Planting 6,000 flags is a huge undertaking, but as the sun comes up and the last few flags are placed it is an incredible site,” said Eric Szafran, who oversees the project now held in conjunction with MS Action Day each year. “The impactful visual shows all commuters that many people across our state are living with the unpredictable effects of multiple sclerosis.”
The flags are just part of an important day for the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, as it hosts the 12th annual MS Action Day in the Old Judiciary Room of the State Capitol Building at 210 Capitol Ave., in Hartford.
The flags will be planted at 6:30 a.m. and typically takes 45 minutes to complete. The 2013 MS Action Day event kicks off at 11:00 a.m. and will feature brief speeches and presentations from many state legislators, who have also been encouraged to show their support by wearing orange.
During MS Action Day, the Connecticut Chapter, its supporters and those living with MS will make their plea to legislators that the needs of those living with MS have never been greater.
“This event is an opportunity for people with MS, their family members and other advocates to meet with state legislators and let them know how critical programs are right now,” said Szafran, chapter programs coordinator.
For 2013, one of the most important issues is the basic needs of families living with MS, according to Szafran.
“This year the chapter is focusing on improving home and community-based services for families with MS,” he said. “We also want to increase access to necessary medications and therapies for people living with MS, as well as year-round energy assistance.”
According to Szafran, the continuation of state funded programs that allow for people with degenerative neurological diseases to receive home-based services is a top priority. Community-based services strive to connect people affected by MS with their communities, resources and each other.
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents live with the unpredictable and baffling effects of multiple sclerosis. The cause is unknown and there is currently no cure. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness in the limbs, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness and, in some more severe cases, total paralysis.
To learn more about participating in MS Flags of Hope Tuesday, March 12, at 6:30 a.m., call Kate Moore at 860.913.2550. To learn more about MS Action Day visit www.ctfightsMS.org.