annual report



Associate Professor Des Graham

“In the past year, MS Australia has prioritised the needs of those living with MS. Our work is directly informed by the experiences of people with MS and their support network. As an individual living with MS, I am filled with a sense of empowerment, confidence and excitement for our shared commitment to creating a world free of MS.”

Associate Professor Desmond Graham


“This year, MS Australia has stayed tightly focussed on its mission to achieve a world without MS by funding high quality Australian research. To all who have shown their unwavering support in generously contributing to our cause, I want to thank you for making a difference in the lives of those living with MS.”

Rohan Greenland


What is multiple sclerosis?

MS is the most common acquired chronic neurological disease affecting young adults, often diagnosed between the ages of 20 to 40 and, in Australia, affects three times more women than men. As yet, there is no cure. There is no known single cause of MS, but many genetic and environmental factors have been shown to contribute to its development. In MS, the body’s own immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the fatty material – called myelin – around the nerves. This results in a range of symptoms, but no two people experience MS in the same way.

62% of people with MS use a disease modifying therapy (DMT), a decrease of 2% since 2017

Nearly 3m people live with MS worldwide

More than 33K Australians live with MS

$2.5bn was the estimated cost of MS to the Australian community in 2021

Average age of diagnosis is between 20-40 years

3 out of 4 Australians diagnosed with MS are women

MS affects more young adults than any other acquired chronic neurological disease

131 Australians living with MS per 100k people, up from 103 in 2017

Research at a glance

MS Australia continues to meet its research goals, working closely with researchers and other key partners and collaborators. Throughout the year, we pursued various projects aligned with our top research priority identified in the 2021 Research and Advocacy Priorities Survey: finding a cure through repair and regeneration.

Over $3.3m awarded to 27 new research grants

Health Economic Impact of Multiple Sclerosis in Australia in 2021 report launched

Vitamin D supplements and MS clinical trial results revealed

New disease modifying therapy for relapsing remitting MS added to Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

ANZgene and international researchers discover the first genetic change linked to MS severity

A therapeutic protein shows promise in regenerating nerve fibres and myelin repair

Model built to identify predictors of progression from clinically isolated syndrome to MS

A sensitive measure detects subtle changes in walking stability at the early stages of MS

Australian MS Longitudinal Study finds that poor sleep affects quality of life independent of other MS symptoms measured

MS Australia joins with international counterparts to commit to a shared global research strategy to accelerate cures for MS

advocacy at a glance

We advocated for increased funding for MS research and systemic policy change on behalf of the MS community. Placing people with MS at the heart of our efforts, we focused on advancing research and advocacy through education, awareness, and influencing national policies. Our key advocacy activities included seeking more funding for research, campaigning for improvements to the NDIS, strengthening partnerships, conducting a survey on employment and the workplace, and releasing our MS Nurse Care Report.

MS Australia launches major public facing NDIS campaign

Collaborated to further the recommendations of the MS Nurse Care in Australia Report

Embedding the lived experience voice into everything we do

15 submissions to government and departmental inquiries and consultations 

MS Australia actively engaged with and shaped the NDIS Review

Neurological Alliance Australia increased membership to 20

21 Parliamentary Friends of MS members

Joint leadership with the international MS community to fast-track cures

Awareness, education & engagement

‘What is MS?’ video launched 

Released updated MS in Australia Health Economic Impact interim report

14 episodes of The Raw Nerve Podcast 

Joined a record 127 countries celebrating World MS Day 

1,868,384 social media impressions 

Over 300 MS Australia-related news article mentions

Over 2,000 signatures for MS Australia’s letter of support to the NDIS Review Co-Chairs 

83 MS Australia news items published

fundraising at a glance

MS Australia’s mission is to achieve a world free of MS, enhancing the wellbeing of those affected by the condition, and amplifying funding for MS research aimed at prevention, improved treatments, and ultimately a cure. Our fundraising efforts, including The May 50K and various events, harness the generosity and enthusiasm of the Australian community, supported by contributions from our MS Member Organisations with whom we collaborate closely.

$3.4m raised for MS research by The May 50K in 2023

12,941 participants in The May 50K 2023

$263 raised for MS research by the average May 50K 2023 participant

$22m raised for MS research in Australia since The May 50K launched in 2019

$920K received from Gifts in Wills

$487K received from general donations and other fundraising

$5.2m for MS research contributed by our state and territory MS Member Organisations

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Annual Report 2022-23