75 Years of Progress and a Good Journey

75 Years of Progress and a Good Journey

The mission of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is: We will cure MS while empowering people affected by MS to live their best lives.

Chris Granias is living his best life. He hasn’t let MS stop him. Chris is an accomplished composer, piano performer and educator who has been living with MS since the early 1990s. Since his diagnosis, he has used his creative talents to raise money for the MS Society and bring people together through his music.

The Chicago native received his doctorate in theory and composition from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in piano performance from Northwestern University, and a master’s degree in composition from Drake University.

In 2017, Chris developed a concert series entitled Kalo Taxidi which is Greek for “good journey.” Every year, this fundraising event features original music from Chris along with performances from friends and former colleagues, some of whom also live with MS. While the concert is typically held in-person, the 2020 Kalo Taxidi concert was turned into a virtual event due to Covid-19. After months of planning and hard work, Chris was able to put together a 90-minute, prerecorded concert featuring 9 artists from across the Upper Midwest. Chris took his passion for performing and composing music and turned it into an innovative, successful fundraiser for the MS Society. You can find Chris’ 4th annual Kalo Taxidi concert on YouTube. Kalo Taxidi is what the National MS Society calls a “DIY” — an opportunity to harness your passion to raise awareness and critical funds for MS in new and creative ways.

While MS has limited Chris’ ability to do many things such as walk and drive, he maintains a positive attitude and often quotes his favorite motto, “MS is not going to stop me.” Daily piano practice has become a part of his physical therapy and he continues to write his own music to keep his mind sharp. He is so passionate about raising money for the Society and helping others who live with MS. Chris hopes that many will witness how his MS, along with his music, has become a journey that not only raises money, but provides inspiration and awareness.

March 7-13 is MS Awareness Week, and this year marks an important milestone. 75 years ago, a movement began that changed the world for people affected by MS. When Sylvia Lawry’s brother, Bernard, began experiencing visual and balance problems in 1945, she and her sister Alice placed a classified advertisement in The New York Times: ”Multiple sclerosis. Will anyone recovered from it please communicate with patient.” The sisters received 54 replies, and the MS movement was born. Ms. Lawry, a young woman without a scientific background, went on to gather 20 of the nation’s most prominent research scientists and founded what would become the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Her passion and perseverance launched a movement that’s led to more breakthroughs than the world has seen for any other neurological disease.

On our shared journey, we have transformed what it means to live with MS and provided global leadership to help achieve our vision of a world free of MS. Together, with Chris and countless others, we celebrate 75 years of progress, and invite you to join the movement. For more information on DIYs, MN Walk MS and Bike MS events this spring and summer, and to learn more about research and life-changing breakthroughs and supports, visit nationalmssociety.org. If you or someone you know could use a caring partner in their MS journey, contact an MS Navigator at 1-800-344-4867

Assistance with this article was provided by Chris Granias, musician; Emerging Events Manager National MS Society Katie Milion; and Kathleen O’Donnell, Upper Midwest Chapter President National MS Society Kathleen O’Donnell.