Monday, March 2, 2009

MS Awareness week

This week is MS awareness week, and today specifically is Wear Orange Day.

For those of you who have never heard of Multiple Sclerosis, here is the definition from The National Multiple Sclerosis Society: Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another.

Many people learned of MS when Montel Williams announced publicly that he was affected by the disease. I learned about MS in the 80's, when my mother was diagnosed with it. When my mother was diagnosed, not much was known about MS, and even less was known about how to treat it. Since then, MS has become a much more widely known disease, and the research into a cure has moved forward in leaps and bounds. Today, there are treatments that can stop the progression of the disease from almost the moment of diagnosis. There still, however, are no treatments for reversing the effects the disease has already had on the body.

One of the things I am continually astonished by is just how many peoples lives have been touched by Multiple Sclerosis. Over the years, I have met many people who have Aunts, Cousins, and Parents who suffer from this slowly debilitating disease.

And that, perhaps, is one of the hardest things about MS. It steals people slowly. Inch by inch they loose their mobility. So slowly sometimes that you may not even realize it's happening.

Today, I am wearing orange. Because the more people know about Multiple Sclerosis, the more people care to stop this disease, the faster we can find a cure. I wear an orange bracelet, with the words "Join the Movement" on it. Every time I'm exercising and I get tired, or I feel like skipping the gym, I look at that bracelet, and get up and move, because I can, because every movement is still a gift.

For more information about Multiple Sclerosis, or how you can help fight it, check out The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, The Multiple Sclerosis Wiki, or MS Active Source.

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