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People with MS Share How They Are Stronger Than MS and Maintain Independence on World MS Day May 25

May 25, 2016

We Are Strong and Independent
World MS Day, led by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, unites MS organizations globally to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis and those affected by it in order to improve public understanding and support that will move us closer a world free of this unpredictable disease.

The 2016 World MS Day theme is “independence,” celebrating all the ways people affected by MS maintain independence and move their lives forward. This year some 70 MS organizations around the globe, including the National MS Society, have events planned and are encouraging people to join together and share their experiences with independence in order to help people better understand the complex nature of MS. Everyone in the global MS movement is sharing their “MS doesn’t stop me” story with the hashtag #strongerthanMS now displaying on worldmsday.org/stories.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s awareness campaign “Together We Are Stronger” engages people across the country to raise awareness and share experiences and solutions to live their best lives—many of which are focused on personal independence—with the hashtag #WeAreStrongerThanMS. These stories are being aggregated and shared at WeAreStrongerThanMS.org.

Tools, services and facilities that help build and maintain independence are essential for people with MS to live their best lives. The National MS Society provides direct assistance or connections to community services for thousands of individuals living with MS across the country. These services include help with physical therapy, home modifications, durable medical equipment, health and wellness support, and other resources that allow people with MS to maintain their independence, safety, health and quality of life.

Connect To Support Independence On World MS Day:
  • Know the facts – The MSIF’s second Global MS Employment Report is based on survey responses from more than 12,000 individuals representing 93 countries. The study collected information on the employment status and opportunities for those living with MS. Key among the survey findings:
    • 43% of people with MS who were not employed had stopped working within three years of diagnosis. This figure rose to 70% after 10 years.
    • 62% of people with MS who were not employed said fatigue prevented them from staying in work – far less than the 85% reported in 2010.
    • Fewer people had reduced their working hours or taken a short term absence, and more people reported not needing to change their working pattern, compared to 2010 data.
  • Celebrate independence – If you are living with MS or care about someone who is, think about the challenges to independence that people with MS face, and then share the solutions you’ve found and how each experience makes you stronger than MS:
    • Share your “MS doesn’t stop me …” stories of independence at worldmsday.org using the hashtag #strongerthanMS
    • Share solutions for living your best life at WeAreStrongerThanMS.org using the hashtag #WeAreStrongerThanMS
    • For instance, Judy in Raleigh, North Carolina shared how she credits much of her independence to exercise: “I’m able to do a lot of the things that I do because I am very physically active.” Her story includes tips like how to get started—like walking with colleagues—and how to keep going—through partnership with her husband and motivation from her active sons—to move your goals forward.
The National MS Society is driving awareness and independence:
  • Around the globe –  
    • Global collaboration focusing on progressive MS – the International Progressive MS Alliance – aims to better understand progression so we can identify and test treatments; design shorter, faster trials; conduct trials to test agents; and develop and evaluate new therapies to manage symptoms.
    • Commitment of an additional $25 million to support an expected 67 new research and training awards to stop MS, restore function and end MS.
    • New ‘What is MS’ 3D Animation Video – a resource for anyone who wants to learn more about MS, including healthcare professionals and media who wish to deepen public awareness and understanding about the disease.
  • Across the U.S.– In cities around the world, including in the U.S., people affected by MS are leading and participating in events and initiatives designed to raise awareness and action focused on independence for people affected by MS, hosting and attending community events that raise funds to drive MS research, collaborating with legislators to secure lasting changes in public policy, and sharing their stories of life with MS with the public through social media, letters to the editor, and news stories.

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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