The 6th annual Cruisin' to End MS day, on August 21, raised $1.45 million in support of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and its programs that benefit Canadians affected by the disease. One dollar from every Teen BurgerŪ sold across the country on Thursday, August 21 went to the MS Society in addition to funds collected in donation mugs, through the sales of paper cut-outs, and online giving.
A&W also donated $1 for every RSVP to the A&W Cruisin' to End MS event on Facebook and every tweet or retweet with the hashtag #CruisinToEndMS. This was a hugely popular element in this year's campaign boosted by support and a visit to the A&W restaurant in Whitehorse-and related tweet-from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
"Through our partnership with the MS Society, we are extremely pleased to help raise awareness about multiple sclerosis, which affects 100,000 Canadians and their families, and to support important research and programs aimed at ending MS," said Paul Hollands, President and CEO, A&W Food Services of Canada. "On behalf of A&W, I would like to thank and congratulate all of our operators, employees, customers, car clubs, the MS Society, and others across Canada who supported us to make this campaign the biggest yet."
More than 800 A&W restaurants across the country hosted Cruisin' to End MS events, including classic car and hot rod gatherings, music, car hop service, A&W Root BeerŪ chugging contests, and visits from the Great A&W Root BearŪ.
During this year's Cruisin' to End MS, the five top fundraising A&W restaurants are located in Alberta. A Grande Prairie A&W was the top fundraising restaurant with $36,047 in donations, followed by Fort McMurray's Franklin Avenue A&W raising $29,879 and Fort McMurray's Thickwood A&W with $24,662. The Shawnessay A&W in Calgary was fourth highest with $10,328 and the West Grande Prairie A&W rounds out the top five with $9,975 in donations.
"A sincere thank you to the A&W family for their continued commitment to accelerate discoveries in MS and improve the lives of the 100,000 Canadians living with the disease," says Yves Savoie, President and CEO of the MS Society of Canada.
"Each year, we are amazed by the support we receive through A&W Cruisin' to End MS, and are proud of this important partnership. The event wouldn't be possible without the support of individuals across our great country coming together for this common cause - a cause that affects all Canadians."
Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis in the world, with 100,000 individuals living with MS, and every day three more people are diagnosed. MS is the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in the country, causing a physical, emotional and financial burden that lasts a lifetime. The disease is complex and unpredictable, affecting vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. Although the cause of this often disabling disease is still not known, researchers are closer to finding the answer. The MS Society of Canada offers programs and services for people with MS and their families, and is also the highest per-capita funder of MS research in the world.