Life with MS
Michael-Che of Moraga was devoted to painting for twenty years when she was diagnosed with MS in April 2013. Amongst other physical challenges, Michael-Che’s ability to paint began to deteriorate. Just one month after her diagnosis, she began to experience cramping and weakness in her dominant arm. Not knowing if she would ever be able to paint again, Michael-Che turned to the National MS Society. After receiving financial assistance for a mobility device, she was able to delve into her passion for art once again.
Michael-Che began experiencing symptoms ten years prior to her diagnosis. Her symptoms were detrimental to her life as a painter, with blurry and double vision forcing her to give up an illustration career. “I switched to fine art, as that allowed me to still paint without the short deadlines and very long work days.” Her biggest challenge came when she began to experience severe weakness, cramping and lack of mobility in her right arm, which forced Michael-Che to adjust her ways of living. She soon learned about the Saebo Zero-Gravity Mobile Arm Support (MAS) System from her therapist. “Our first goal was for me to test it and see if it would enable me to paint, and the second more difficult part was to figure out how to pay for it.”
Michael-Che remembered seeing information on a financial assistance program during one of her many visits to the National MS Society website so she filled out an application. Her request was approved and she soon received the MAS System with financial help from the Northern California Chapter. “The whole process was easy and quick. The local and national Chapters were very generous in assistance.” Having the MAS System in her studio has brought positive changes to Michael-Che’s painting. “Returning to my work after a year of waiting to see if I would paint again has given me a new perspective on what I want to achieve with my time at the easel. I am playing with new techniques, which is engaging and frustrating at the same time. I absolutely love the challenge!”
Michael-Che has shown her art at many galleries throughout Contra Costa County and is now represented by two galleries, one in Carmel, California and the other in Martha’s Vineyard. Her paintings may be seen at www.ms-gallery.com.
About the Financial Assistance Program
The National MS Society’s Financial Assistance Program offers guidance, leverage and resources to help contain the financial impact of MS. The program was developed to bring meaningful financial assistance to people living with MS, with emphasis on helping people maintain their independence, safety, health and quality of life.
How to Apply: To speak with an MS Navigator®who can review available resources with you and provide an application, please contact the Society at 1-800-344-4867. Or click here to learn more.