This week has a special aspect

Published 9:09 am Monday, March 14, 2011

March 14-20 is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week, and I would like to get the message out to people about what MS is and how the National MS Society helps people who are affected by MS.

MS affects the central nervous system and damages the nerve insulator called myelin, due to an abnormal immune system attacking the myelin that protects the nerve cells. This causes many different symptoms to occur in people who have MS: numbness, tingling, vision, gait, pain, fatigue and others all of which one may suffer at one time or another but is different from anyone else with MS, just like each person is different in their own way so are the symptoms of MS making it hard to diagnose and treat. Many of these symptoms can cause a person to suffer disabilities which makes everyday tasks difficult to perform.

There are over 10,000 people in Minnesota and western Wisconsin with MS, and those are only the ones that have registered with the MS Society. I have met people not members of the society or on any medication. Medication is another subject the cost without, even with insurance can cause great hardship on a person/family depending on the type of treatment one is using to control the symptoms of MS.

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There are many ways that the National MS Society helps people who are affected with MS. Services provided by the MS Society stretch from financial counseling, transportation to doctor appointments, Medicare guidance, scholarships for college, to name a few.

I was surprise this past summer when I received a call from the Minnesota MS Society chapter asking if I had had any damage to my home, and if I needed help with clean up or cleaning supplies. I had not suffered damage but wished others in the area had services offered to them like those of us with MS had. Not all the money the National MS Society receives goes to research or administrative fees a great portion of it goes for services needed immediately by those affected by MS.

There are many ways to join the movement to help move toward a world free of MS. Join one of the many events like Walk MS, Bike MS and many others donate to the MS Society through a team member. I am the captain of team “That’s How We Roll,” we walk in Rochester each year. Last year our team raised just over $8,000, you can help our team reach our goal of $10,000 this year by sending a donation to: PO Box 343 Geneva, MN, payable to: National MS Society with #4441755 in the memo. Walk MS event this year is May 1 at Soldiers Field in Rochester. If you want to donate to the walk please mail your donation by April 25. Unlike many other nonprofit organizations the money donated here stays here in Minnesota to help your neighbor, friend and family. Join the MS movement now!

Dawn Patton