World MS Day - Be a Part of the Movement
World MS Day is coming up on May 25, and that means the global MS community will be coming together to share stories, raise awareness and campaign with and for everyone with MS. There will be hashtags, media coverage and local events, and hopefully all that noise will bring increased visibility and awareness to the disease among the general public.
It’s always inspiring to me to see the community band together like this, and is a good reminder of what we can accomplish when we are all moving in the same direction. As someone living with RRMS, I do feel a certain unspoken responsibility to advance understanding of the disease, and World MS Day is a good reminder of that.
Admittedly, before I was diagnosed, I did not have a strong understanding of MS. Too often, people do not fully understand certain diseases and they sometimes make judgements based on inaccurate information or lack thereof. In my opinion, many people with MS are scrutinized and viewed as weak or incapable of doing certain things – only because of the lack of public understanding about the disease.
It is our job as those living with MS and our family members and friends, to arm people with accurate information so they can understand that MS is unique to each person, just like a fingerprint. It is so important that we make it clear that this disease isn’t a death sentence, and despite having MS we can live fulfilled lives. Being diagnosed with MS does not necessarily mean your life drastically changes, and it certainly doesn’t mean everyone should treat you differently. For example, I still play sports with my kids and travel – and I love life. Simply helping others better understand the disease will go a long way!
Even the biggest movements start with one person at a time, and each of us can make a difference. Each of us has the opportunity every day to educate someone about MS. In honor of World MS Day, I would like to challenge you to speak openly about MS – do not hide it or ignore it. Take that extra step to bring up MS in conversation, to help perpetuate knowledge about the disease and break down the stigmas. Encourage family and friends to ask you questions about MS, and offer information about how it affects you. And proudly wear the MS color – orange – to show your support for the MS community. Together, we can make a difference!