Billy Talent drummer Aaron Solowoniuk was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1998 and nine years later started the MS Society of Canada Scholarship Fund. Under the cooler name F.U.M.S, Billy Talent and Friends put on an annual concert to raise money to help send young Canadians affected by MS to college or university. In 2008, 80 kids received help. But Solowniuk is hoping to expand the services offered through the Fund.
Karen Bliss spoke to Solowoniuk for Samaritanmag.
What else needs to be done?
“There needs to be a place for youth who are experiencing something like MS or cancer to be able to go to online. The whole online world has been catered to an older generation who are dealing with disease. When kids spend a lot of time on the Internet and then they find out that they have MS and then go to the [sites] that have things for MS, it doesn’t fit what they need at all. Not even close.”
What do they need?
“Just a safe place for them to talk to each other, a safe place for them to find mentors who have MS that can talk to the kid who is 16, who doesn’t know what the hell is going on with his life, and doesn’t know what’s going to happen and doesn’t know how to deal with having needles every day — someone to talk to, and that’s just not available at all right now.”
Have you tried to start such a site?
“Yes, I’m totally trying to get the government to fund it right now. We’re just in that phase of getting them to give us some money so we can create this for these kids because it’s something that needs to be done. “
What is at the core of F.U.M.S.?
“It’s a scholarship fund for kids whose parents can’t work anymore because of MS or they have MS themselves. If you are affected by MS, you get $1000 to help you get into university and not give up on life and move forward. Now, to extend that, it’s going to be to try to get a youth-based place for kids who are dealing with MS to go.”
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