Multiple Sclerosis Reception
MS Queensland Chair, Mr Shaun Treacy and CEO, Mr David Curd; staff; ambassadors; supporters; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, welcome.
I first acknowledge the Turrbul and Jagera people, the Traditional Owners of the lands around Brisbane, and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present, and to any First Nations people here this evening.
Every year on the 30th of May, MS Queensland joins with 2.8 million people around the world who are living with Multiple Sclerosis, as well as their families and those providing care and support, to celebrate World MS Day – and Graeme and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House to share this 65th birthday celebration with you.
Despite the number of people, families and communities affected by MS globally, MS Day now competes for recognition in an increasingly crowded field of annual observances.1
The United Nations alone observes 92 days, and if MS Day were in that list, it would be tightly flanked on one side by the International Day of UN Peacekeepers and on the other by World No-Tobacco Day. If we dig deeper to the level of national and local observances, it’s clear that the challenge for any organisation today is to cut through the ‘noise’ and have its voice heard.
It is therefore very pleasing for me, as Patron of MS Queensland, to see how well this organisation has been able to communicate its message over the 14 years since World MS Day was established.
Over that time, a series of themes has been chosen, addressing the needs and hopes shared by the MS community worldwide – equal rights and opportunities, equal physical access, greater independence, improved quality of life, more research, greater visibility, and increased awareness, especially among employers, of the economic impact of the disease and the challenges faced by those living with its impact.
Since 2020, the focus has been on connections and tonight’s reception is part of that focus – a way of celebrating the support networks that are so vitally important; a way of strengthening connections within the MS community and beyond; and, for me as Patron, a way of advocating for improved services and greater understanding, and of supporting the MS community as it challenges the social barriers that can leave those affected by MS feeling socially isolated.
Graeme and I thank you again for being with us this evening and look forward to hearing your stories – and to sharing a celebratory slice of the MS 65th birthday cake prepared for you by our Government House chefs.
We hope you enjoy the warm hospitality of Government House.