Most of us never think twice about how lucky we are to be able to take a walk to the store, dance it up at a party or just have a conversation with a friend or loved one over coffee—these are just things we take for granted. Sadly, there are many people who would give anything to be able to do any of those things independently and without pain. Many of these people have Multiple Sclerosis. March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, so let’s help those suffering from it and raise some awareness!
The History of Multiple Sclerosis Month
Multiple Sclerosis, also known simply as MS, is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. This disorder damages and eventually destroys the myelin, or protective covering, surrounding the nerves, causing reduced communication between the brain and nerve pathways. This in turn leads to various parts of the body—and MS can affect practically anything—not being able to work properly. Common symptoms include overwhelming fatigue, problems with vision and/or speech, difficulty with balance and coordination, and various levels of impaired mobility. Some people also experience debilitating acute pain, go completely blind, or become paralyzed. Multiple Sclerosis can also be the cause of chronic depression that often results in suicide. In 2010, the number of people with MS was estimated to be 2-2.5 million worldwide, but no treatment has yet been discovered that would be able to change the course of progressive MS.
March was proclaimed Multiple Sclerosis Awareness month in 2015 by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who encouraged both public officials and residents to organize and take part in activities and programs meant to raise awareness about the struggles of people who have this disease.
How to Celebrate Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month
There are a few great ways to celebrate this month. Do you know someone who has Multiple Sclerosis? If so, this month is the perfect time to show you care about them, so give them a call, make them a pot of stew or just drop by their place to see if there is anything they need help with. Being disabled often makes people feel helpless, useless, and like they don’t matter anymore. But nothing makes a person feeling lonely, scared or just plain miserable feel better than knowing they haven’t been forgotten.
Last but not least, since Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month is all about raising awareness, take some time this month to educate yourself! The National Multiple Sclerosis Society in the United States, for example, organizes different events all over the country, such as Walk MS, that you can take part in to show your support for the cause. The Multiple Sclerosis Society in Great Britain offers the opportunity to help out by doing little jobs like driving a minibus or managing a website.
If you don’t know anyone with MS, maybe you could consider donating to someone with MS who needs your help? This brave woman, for example, has been fighting the disease for over 20 years and needs help paying for the care home she will have to finally move to: https://www.gofundme.com/jbrvcn6c Remember, every dollar and every share counts!
So what are you waiting for? March is only 31 days long, and there’s so much work to be done!