MS Awareness Month

Befriend, Support Someone with MS
by Liz Thompson
Published March 15, 2012
Suburban News Publications

We’re not hard to find. You see us in venues from the corporate world to Kindergarten. The list is long.

Most are everyday people doing everyday activities.

Symptoms are invisible to most everyone but those living with multiple sclerosis.

This central nervous system disease causes sensations of numbness and tingling, indescribable fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision and often partial or complete blindness, muscle spasms, cognitive problems and more.

The majority of us have relapsing/remitting MS that comes and goes at will. The smaller percentage has progressive MS that declines rapidly.

We may find ourselves in the middle of a large, empty room unable to move safely because we don’t have anything to balance our bodies. That is one way that MS can be paralyzing because our bodies are rebelling within. The new normal is what our lives become as we adapt daily.

I asked Grove City businesses for donations of sweets to deliver to the Columbus TV stations, along with information about March being MS Awareness Month. Tim Horton’s on Broadway quickly agreed to a donation. The woman I spoke with said her sister has MS.

Jolly Pirate Donuts on Southwest Blvd. generously donated donuts along with Tim Horton’s on Stringtown Road.

While delivering the goodies, I found a woman whose best friend has MS and she joins her friend’s Walk MS team every year.

Another station quickly told me they have a staffer with MS.

Like I said, we’re not hard to find.

The mantra for people with MS is “knowledge is power.” When I was diagnosed in 1987, information about MS was elusive. No Internet to research, few celebrities were talking about having this disease, there were few books and no drugs to treat it.

Today information is plentiful and more than five drugs exist proven to slow progression with more being developed.

MS Awareness Month is important because the face of MS is changing.

For years MS was believed to be a disease affecting those age 20-50. Currently, MS has been diagnosed in children as young as three, with an estimated 8,000-10,000 children under the age of 18 living with MS, and in adults as old as 75.

Demand for services in the MS community continues to increase and change in scope. The Ohio Buckeye Chapter of the National MS Society is a lifeline of information and services for the more than 11,000 people with MS in the counties they serve. There are two other chapters in Ohio that also care for the more than 20,000 people in Ohio with MS.

The National MS Society is investing more than $6.3 million over a three-year period in Ohio institutions for 17 MS-related research projects – one of the highest investments nationwide.

How can you help? Befriend someone with MS, offer your arm for support. Consider sponsoring an MS event like the Walk MS in Columbus on April 21 at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium to keep research and services possible.

For more information, call 1-800-FIGHT-MS  or visit the Web site at