Nuggets of Knowledge/Health Advocacy

MS Advocacy — Knowledge Is Power

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Receiving a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) is all too often a life changing moment. In honor of World MS Day on May 28, we invite all those touched by life with MS to be empowered to continue their advocacy throughout the year.

Transformation Time

The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Monster randomly attacks its innocent victims. Sometimes the attacks are mild, all too often they're severe. Life with MS is especially scary because we all know the Monster will be back, but not when.

My life with MS began a little over a decade ago, when unrelenting destruction by the Monster left me disabled and unable to continue working as an accountant. Prior to the first appearance of MS in my life, I had very little knowledge of the illness. My ignorance was not intentional, but rather circumstantial. Little did I know that a decade later I would be transformed into a writer and advocate.

Perception Is Reality

When walking I stagger, sway, and stumble. Often I slur my words and drop things. To the outsider observing me, I resemble someone who is clearly intoxicated. Except that I am stone cold sober. Many times I have wanted to create a T-shirt with the saying “It’s Not Booze, MS Is the Excuse!”

We need to continue and even expand upon the current campaigns aimed at educating the general public about MS. There are many stigmas associated with MS and those whom it impacts. Some of us are capable of playing professional sports while others use a wheelchair. Yet, many people will expect us to all be able to accomplish the same physical feats. We need to change this perception and explain the variability and unpredictability of MS.

We Are All Empowered to Increase Funding

There are great financial costs incurred in the numerous MS research and public awareness programs. Unfortunately, many of us do not have the financial resources to make sizable charitable donations. Yet, there are numerous ways we can still make valuable contributions.

There are national and even international organizations that provide support for those living with MS. There are so many different ways to volunteer your abilities to help out their mission. All it takes is a phone call or email to find out more information.

Research is typically funded by a partnership between government and private industry. We need to help keep moving this research toward the ultimate goal of finding a way to not only stop MS, but repair the damage it has left in our bodies. We must call, fax, or email our elected officials and ask them to increase funding for MS research. They may not be aware of the true numbers of those living with MS or its impact on our quality of life.

Keep on Turning Lemon Into Lemonade

When living with MS, every day forces us to make the best of an often challenging situation. As a community, we must continue influencing behaviors toward the most desirable outcomes. We can all be our own best advocates by educating the public about REAL life with MS. When we change their thinking, we influence their actions. When they change their actions, all those impacted by life with MS are the winners.

Last Updated:5/28/2014
Important:The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.
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