Ann Romney — wife of Mitt Romney — is coming to London to attend Robarts Research Institute’s annual Leaders in Innovation Dinner to speak about her experience with multiple sclerosis.
Diagnosed in 1998, Ann has been a major advocate in volunteering her time and raising awareness for MS. She will be accompanied by her husband Mitt, the 2012 Republican nominee for the president of the United States and former governor of Massachusetts.
MS is an autoimmune disorder in which the coating around neurons in the nervous system become damaged by the immune system. Much like a house’s electrical wiring, without proper insulation, the system is prone to misfiring and loss of connectivity.
“Canada has one of the highest rates of MS in the world,” said Michael Strong, dean of the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. “We have a huge clinic of patients that are followed here so there’s a lot of clinical research. A lot of early natural history studies and clinical trials were done [in London].”
The event includes a reception, dinner, Ann’s talk and a question period. She'll also be interviewed by the event’s host.
According to Strong, in the last seven years, every individual who has come as a guest speaker to the event has had a direct connection to the disease. Past guests for the research dinner included Alec Baldwin for spinal cord injuries and Michael J. Fox for Parkinson’s disease.
“We certainly cover all the costs for them to come here,” said Strong. “But virtually every individual that we bring to be a speaker, because of their disease association, if there is a [speaker fee], they donate it back to that research.”
The Leaders in Innovation dinner will be held at the London Convention Centre on Wednesday, Nov. 15. Tickets to the dinner can be purchased online for $250 per person by anyone who is interested in attending. Funding will first go to support the day's events and remaining amounts will go towards research.