In an event commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis (Fundació per l'Esclerosi Múltiple – FEM), the president of the Catalan Governement, Artur Mas, assured that associations such as FEM were the “best indicators of what our country truly is”.
The Chief Executive thanked the FEM for their dedication and hard work and considers its existence "inconceivable" 25 years ago. He also recognized the particular difficulty of such a feat because in those times, when the entity was created, “there was virtually nothing" in terms of medical research in autoimmune disorders.
During his speech, Mas acknowledged the entity’s accomplishments which were possible with the assistance of the CatSalut, the Catalan Institute of Health and the Ministry of Health’s Multiple Sclerosis Centre of Catalonia (CEMCAT), a leading European research and training centre which excels in training and the care of patients suffering from this specific autoimmune disorder. Mas also made reference to the dedication of the FEM-CET, the Special Employment Centre (Centre Especial de Treball), which integrates 80 individuals with disabilities and carries out the difficult task of raising awareness of the issue in Catalan society.
The memorial concert honouring all those who, over the last 25 years, have worked with the FEM to improve the quality of life among multiple sclerosis sufferers brought together almost 2,000 people. The UNESCO Orchestra of Barcelona, directed by Gonzalo Comellas , the Puig-Reig Polyphonic Choir together with the soprano Begoña Alberdi offered a repertoire of Mozart and a lyrical version of the Mulla’t song.
The event was also attended by the President of the Catalan Parliament, Núria de Gispert; the Minister of Health, Boi Ruiz; the Minister of Social Welfare and Family, Neus Munté; president of FEM, Rosamaria Estrany, and other personalities of Catalan society.
The Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis focuses its work on increasing the quality of life and employability among people with multiple sclerosis whilst improving healthcare services and research in the neurodegenerative disease that currently affects 7,000 people throughout Catalonia. In the last year alone, FEM reached almost 23,000 patients in neurorehabilitation day hospitals.
The FEM, created in 1989, began in Barcelona as a private non-profit organisation and encompasses a network of day hospitals, offering professional training services and employment for people through the Special Employment Centre (FEM-CET), in addition to fundraising and promoting awareness campaigns.