F.U.M.S. is an annual concert by Billy Talent and Friends and the driving force behind the MS Society of Canada Scholarship Fund. In 2008, the fund helped 80 young Canadians go to college or university.
In November of 1998, Aaron Solowoniuk, the drummer of the hit Canadian band Billy Talent, was diagnosed with MS. Newly hired as a line worker in an auto assembly plant, he had mistaken the numbing pain in his legs as part of the job, but it soon became difficult for him to walk for more than five minutes at a time.
Aaron had always wanted to be a drummer in a rock band, but was told he should “take it easy”. So the disease attacked not only his body, but also his dreams.
For a time, anger fueled his drumming. Anger at his circumstances. At a lifetime of self-injection. At recurring symptoms. And at the inevitability of dissipation.
Then his prescribed medication started to work. And the MS Society of Canada helped him get information and tools to get his life back on track. His symptoms were mostly gone, and when they did come back he came to see them as minor setbacks.
With their first record, Billy Talent went on tour. It took them across Canada, America, Germany, the UK, and Japan. Aaron was part of something successful. Not because of his MS. Not in spite of his MS. But because he was Aaron, a really good drummer in a great band. And that gave him hope.
Because he had refused to be defined by his disease.
Coming to this conclusion, he also realized that people affected by MS need more than medical help. They need a way to turn anger into hope.
Aaron created F.U.M.S. as an expression of his anger with a disease for which there is no cure, and which can ravage a life. It is also his way of showing that anger, while understandable, should also be channeled to more positive outcomes.