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A&W Canada's Burgers to Beat MS campaign raises $1.75 million to End MS


Communities from coast to coast come together to end Canada's disease

VANCOUVER, Aug. 31, 2016 /CNW/ - A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. is proud to announce that its Burgers to Beat MS campaign with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, which culminated on Thursday, August 25th when $1 from every Teen Burger® sold across the country was donated to help Canadians affected by multiple sclerosis (MS), raised a record-breaking $1.75 million. Now in its 8th year, the campaign has raised close to $10 million, bringing Canada closer to a cure for this disease.

Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world, making it Canada's disease. Funds raised by A&W's dedicated operators, enthusiastic staff, and loyal guests support world-class MS research that is bringing us closer to a cure, and programs and services that help Canadians with MS live better lives until a cure is found.

"Burgers to Beat MS began as a small idea from a group of A&W operators who wanted to make a difference," says Paul Hollands, Chairman and CEO, A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. "The campaign has been a remarkable success, year after year after year. To us, it's about making a real difference, both in terms of research and therapies to find a cure and to help make life better for people who live with MS. I want to congratulate and thank everyone who helped make the 2016 Burgers to Beat MS campaign the most successful yet."

Uniting Canadians from coast to coast in support of a great cause, all 861 A&W restaurants across the country hosted Burgers to Beat MS fundraising activities – many featuring A&W Root Beer® float stands, music, and games. In addition to buying Teen Burgers®, supporters donated through rounding up their bill at the register, purchasing $2 paper cutouts, and giving through in-store donation mugs – all of which went towards supporting people touched by MS. A&W also donated $20,000 to the MS Society for the 20,000 shares on Facebook the Burgers to Beat MS online video, featuring A&W spokesperson Allen, received.

For a fourth year in a row, a Grande Prairie A&W restaurant was the top fundraising restaurant in Canada, raising more than $44,000 in 2016. One of the outstanding fundraising events that took place across Canada included a cross-Canada tour with Paul Hollands, A&W Chairman and CEO, and Yves Savoie, MS Society President and CEO, where they served A&W Root Beer® floats in exchange for a donation to the MS Society of Canada at eight A&W restaurants across the country. They were joined by MS Society Inspirational Champion Juan Luis Garrido from Toronto, featured in this video from the tour.

Canadians also showed their support online using #BurgersToBeatMS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and using A&W's national Snapchat filter, which was available to all Canadians on Thursday, August 25th.

"Our partnership with A&W, its employees, and its guests, have enabled the MS Society to make an impact in the lives of people affected by MS," says Yves Savoie, President and CEO, MS Society of Canada. "These efforts make possible the crucial information people seek when they are diagnosed, the support and services in communities from coast to coast, and the research that is fueling life-changing treatments, and will ultimately lead to a cure. I could not be prouder of Burgers to Beat MS, a campaign that unites the country and raises important funds as we work to end Canada's disease."

MS is one of the most common neurological diseases among young adults, attacking the central nervous system, and affecting vision, memory, balance and mobility. Most commonly diagnosed in individuals aged 15 – 40, early in the disease, people often experience temporary episodes of worsening symptoms accompanied by active inflammation in the brain (called relapses), whereas later on, disease progression is inevitable.

Although the cause of this often disabling disease is still not known, researchers are bringing us closer to finding the answer. In 2016, the MS Society of Canada and its affiliated MS Scientific Research Foundation (MSSRF) celebrated a success with the published results of a Canadian study of a treatment called immunoablation and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (IAHSCT), involving intensive chemotherapy to completely wipe out the immune system and transplantation of blood-forming stem cells to form a new immune system that doesn't attack myelin. Results showed that IAHSCT halted all brain inflammation in people with early, aggressive multiple sclerosis, reversed disability and facilitated lasting recovery. The MS Society and its affiliated MSSRF are also funding the promising MEsenchymal Stem cell therapy for CAnadian MS patients (MESCAMS) study. Co-led by the same renowned investigator who published the IAHSCT results – Dr. Mark Freedman – MESCAMS will investigate treatment with a different type of stem cell that has the potential to suppress inflammation and promote repair. With A&W as a key funder, this work will provide more definitive answers regarding their use to treat persons living with both relapsing and progressive forms of MS.

A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. is 100 per cent Canadian owned and is one of the strongest brand names in the Canadian foodservice industry. A&W is the nation's second largest hamburger restaurant company with 861 locations across the country. From coast-to-coast, A&W is a leader in the Canadian burger industry, serving beef raised without the use of steroids or hormones, chicken raised without the use of antibiotics, eggs from hens fed a vegetarian diet without animal by-products, and pork raised without the use of antibiotics. A&W Restaurants feature famous trade-marked menu items such as The Burger Family®, Chubby Chicken® and A&W Root Beer®. For more information, please visit aw.ca.

The MS Society of Canada is dedicated to finding a cure for multiple sclerosis by funding leading-edge research and improving the quality of life of those affected by the disease. The MS Society offers programs and services for people with MS and their families, and its affiliated MS Scientific Research Foundation is among the largest funders of MS research in the world. Please visit mssociety.ca or call 1-800-268-7582 to make a donation or to learn more about the latest in MS research and programs in your area. Join the conversation and connect with the MS community online – find @MSSocietyCanada on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.

SOURCE A&W Food Services of Canada Inc.

Image with caption: "Burgers to Beat MS: On August 25th, A&W Canada and the MS Society of Canada celebrated Burgers to Beat MS, a campaign to benefit Canadians living with MS. Paul Hollands, Chairman and CEO, A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. (left) and Yves Savoie, President and CEO, MS Society of Canada, visited eight select restaurants across Canada, serving A&W Root Beer® floats in exchange for a donation to the MS Society of Canada. This year's campaign raised a total of $1.75 million. Credit: A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. (CNW Group/A&W Food Services of Canada Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160831_C2900_PHOTO_EN_762928.jpg

For further information: please contact: Brenda Jones, Hoggan & Associates, bjones@hoggan.com, C: 604.312.1070; Matthew Higginson, MS Society of Canada, matthew.higginson@mssociety.ca, T: 416.922.6600 x3159