When Jeffrey Gingold was diagnosed with MS in January, 1996, he was a successful partner in a Brookfield law firm. He and his wife Terri, a kindergarten teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools, were enjoying their two year old daughter, Lauren, and expecting their second daughter, Meredith, to arrive that summer. Jeffrey's life was full: By day he worked hard in the courtroom; by night he spent time with his family, practiced amateur speed skating, and taught law as an adjunct professor at Marquette University. There was no time for MS.
Jeffrey began to experience episodes of mental blankness. He would lose his presence of thought, leaving him unable to recall what he had just said and not knowing what to say next. A jarring and frightening experience for anyone! These episodes became so frequent that Jeffrey eventually retired from his position at the law firm.
He soon discovered that he was not alone; as one-half of all people with MS experience similar cognitive issues. He found that these symptoms are often not touched upon at the time of diagnosis, leaving patients at a loss to understand and manage their symptoms of confusion, forgetfulness, and inability to concentrate. Jeffrey decided he would break the silence and talk about the "elephant" in the room. In his book, Facing the Cognitive Challenges of Multiple Sclerosis (Demos Medical Publishing, 2006), Jeffrey tackles the sometimes painful issue of cognitive struggles for people with MS, from the patient's perspective.
Jeffrey is also an outspoken volunteer advocate regarding cognitive disability and MS. His efforts, on behalf of the National MS Society, Wisconsin Chapter, have helped to secure funding for an MS early diagnosis program for indigent women in Wisconsin, as well as an income tax check-off for voluntary giving to fund MS programs and services.
He has also worked tirelessly as a volunteer peer supporter and an avid participant in the Walk MS. His team, "Team Summit," has already raised more than $12,000 to support the Society's mission.