MS survivor creates trendy accessory line

LOS ANGELES Entrepreneur Nancy Davis does not take walking down a hall for granted. Nineteen years ago, doctors told her multiple sclerosis would put her in a wheelchair.

"I was a young mom with three kids," said Davis. "I was just devastated that life was over at 33."

Davis went to as many experts as she could. She found many of the leading scientists were duplicating MS research.

"I thought if we could bring the best and the brightest together to work as a team to constantly communicate every month, and never duplicate others research, we would find a cure seven times quicker," said Davis.

She created the Center Without Walls, an open collaboration of seven research centers, including those at USC.

"We really do share information and communicate with each other," said Dr. Leslie Weiner, USC School of Medicine.

Dr. Weiner says the collaboration has resulted in 12 to 15 Phase III trials for new medications, an exploration into stem cell transplantation and a compilation of new information about importance of vitamin D. Studies show boosting vitamin D in MS patients can bring improvement in symptoms.

"I recommend 3,000 unless the patient has low blood levels of vitamin D," said Dr. Weiner.

Thanks to the Nancy Davis Foundation and the Center Without Walls, scientists have made some great advances in multiple sclerosis. But science needs money and doctors admit research has suffered because of the economy.

"I think it's important for people to make this a priority," said Dr. Weiner.

To make it easier and fun for people to donate, Davis teamed up with celebrities to create a trendy line of accessories. All proceeds benefit the Race to Erase MS.

"We have great T-shirts, jewelry, flip-flops and a lot of other things," said Davis.

Davis says she is proof research can improve the life of an MS patient.

"We can't wait we have to raise that money," said Davis.

The Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis is holding a free MS forum this Saturday at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. Patients can get all their questions answered by leading experts. You can help out by attending the group's 17th annual fund-raising gala on Friday night.

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