About the Foundation
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease quite close to Ryan’s heart. In 1995, his mother Cheryl was diagnosed with MS, a chronic and unpredictable disease that affects the central nervous system. MS affects roughly 400,000 Americans and can impact the body in almost as many ways. Ryan looks at his mother’s condition as an influence on his development as a person. It forced Ryan and his brother, Shawn, to assume responsibilities in his home at an earlier age than most of their peers.
As President of the ziMS Foundation, Ryan is excited by the prospect of giving back to his community and finding a cure for this unpredictable disease. “My family has given me the support to fulfill my dreams. The Washington Nationals have given me the opportunity to play the game that I love at the highest level in our nation’s capitol. I am thrilled to have launched a foundation that I hope can make a real impact in the life of my family as well as many others afflicted by MS.”
Ryan’s parents Keith and Cheryl will serve on the ziMS Foundation’s Board of Directors. Cheryl Zimmerman is just one person with the disease. In this country alone, approximately 200 people are diagnosed each week. Worldwide, MS may affect 2.5 million individuals.
One important aspect of the ziMS Foundation is that we are 100% volunteer-based. Everything we do requires the support of these volunteers to make us a success in “bringing home a cure for MS”. Please consider volunteering for an event or throughout the year.
What is Multiple Sclerosis? ( from mayoclinic.com)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, potentially debilitating disease that affects your central nervous system, which is made up of your brain and spinal cord. Multiple sclerosis is widely believed to be an autoimmune disease, a condition in which your immune system attacks components of your body as if they’re foreign.
In multiple sclerosis, the body mistakenly directs antibodies and white blood cells against proteins in the myelin sheath, a fatty substance that insulates nerve fibers in your brain and spinal cord. This results in inflammation and injury to the sheath and ultimately to the nerves that it surrounds. The result may be multiple areas of scarring (sclerosis). Eventually, this damage can slow or block the nerve signals that control muscle coordination, strength, sensation and vision.
Multiple sclerosis affects an estimated 300,000 people in the United States and probably more than 1 million people around the world — including twice as many women as men. Most people experience their first signs or symptoms between ages 20 and 40.
Multiple sclerosis is unpredictable and varies in severity. In some people, multiple sclerosis is a mild illness, but it can lead to permanent disability in others. Treatments can modify the course of the disease and relieve symptoms.