“It’s exciting to be at Fenway with others like me,” said Victoria Esselman, 17, of Medford, Mass.
On Saturday, August 23, Esselman was one of 15 kids with multiple sclerosis and their family members, who were treated to a picnic lunch and a Red Sox game at storied Fenway Park in Boston.
MS (multiple sclerosis) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Although MS most commonly occurs in adults, it is sometimes diagnosed in children and adolescents. Estimates suggest that only 8,000 to 10,000 children in the US have MS.
For kids, having a chronic disease can make them feel alone. That’s why the National MS Society teamed up with the Partners Pediatric MS Center at MassGeneral Hospital for Children and the Pediatric MS Center at Children’s Hospital to create “Kids Get MS Too.” Using recreational activities as a backdrop, Kids Get MS Too provides networking and learning opportunities to kids and their parents individually and as a group.
“It’s an opportunity for children and adolescents with MS, and their families, to meet each other, share their thoughts and experiences and see that there are others out there like them,” said Linda Guiod, Exec. V.P. Chapter Programs, National MS Society, Greater New England Chapter.
The Red Sox game was the perfect setting for these kids and their families to connect.
“It’s nice to be with people like me, who understand,” said Jamilex Rivas, 17, Worcester, Mass. Tyler Seiders , 16, of Derry, N.H. agreed. “[It] feels good to be around other people who have MS,” he said.
The Red Sox ended up losing to the Seattle Mariners that day, but the kids living with MS were the big winners. Just ask Luis Reyes, 15, of Boston.
“It’s amazing to know I’m not alone.”
If you are the parent of a teen or young child with MS, contact the National MS Society at 1-800-344-4867, or www.MSnewengland.org, to access resources and support.
Photos by Dan Young firstname.lastname@example.org
Victoria Esselman, 17, Medford, MA
Jamilex Rivas, 17, Worcester, MA
Tyler Seiders, 16, Derry, NH
Jill Ryan, 16, Topsfield. MA
Peter Marggraf, 15, Exeter, NH
Timothy Hogan, 17, Windsor, NY
(L-R) Beth Convino, Victoria Convino, 17, Sarah Convino of Stamford, CT