How Will You Spend World MS Day?
May 28 is World MS Day, and 68 multiple sclerosis organizations around the world have scheduled events to raise awareness of the disease as well as focus on this year’s theme, access. Billions of people may be reminded that it is World MS Day, but for the more than 2.3 million people who have the disease and their loved ones, every day is World MS Day.
Access for people with MS can mean several things. This often disabling disease of the central nervous system can make it difficult or even impossible for individuals to walk, climb stairs, or maintain their balance. Access for some, therefore, may mean they have trouble doing something as simple as getting around their own homes or leaving the house.
Access is about health care. People who have MS frequently run into barriers when trying to maneuver the medical system. Those hurdles can range from failure to get a diagnosis to having to go from doctor to doctor until someone listens to them, ineffective treatments, high drug costs, and lack of available care.
Support is another access hurdle that people with MS often face. This challenge can have several faces; that is, individuals who have MS need support from employers and coworkers, family, friends, the healthcare community, and society at large.
People with MS can face discrimination in the workplace, for example, and this can occur when employees and/or employers fail to understand the rights of a worker who has MS. It is important for all involved parties to have access to information that can prevent or resolve these events, such as that offered by the National MS Society.
Access to support in the form of online and in-person groups as well as organizations dedicated to MS is one bright spot in the field of multiple sclerosis. Internet access has made much of this improvement possible as more and more individuals with MS and their family and friends can reach out to each other around the world and around the clock.
How will you spend World MS Day? You could spend some time learning more about the disease and how it can affect access to activities and services most of us take for granted.
- To get an idea of that concept, you might visit the Multiple Sclerosis International Foundation, which is hosting a Wish Wall. There people from around the world have been posting their wishes about their lives with MS with the world.
- Contact your local MS society and ask how you might help in the fight against MS
- Search social media for information about MS
- Learn about MS by watching informational videos online, such as those offered by the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America or the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- Do you know someone who has MS? Take some time to listen to their story
If you are not familiar with MS, World MS Day is probably just another day to you. If you live with MS, then you may be hoping it’s the day more people will come to understand this disease. Through such understanding, we can strive to improve the lives of those who have MS and further the research and search for a cure.