MS Awareness week is March 11-17
Published 9:23 pm Sunday, March 11, 2018
On Sunday, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society began its celebration of MS Awareness Week with a new campaign titled #ThisIsMS, that will encourage individuals living with the disease to share their stories.
MS Awareness Week is March 11 through 17 and is part of MS Awareness month.
According to the MS Society, “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. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. 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 worldwide.”
The cause of MS is unknown, and anyone can be impacted by the disease. The MS Society encourages people to help people living with MS during the awareness week and throughout the year.
“Every day, people living with MS do whatever it takes to move their lives forward,” said Cyndi Zagieboylo, president and CEO of the National MS Society. “They work, have families, advocate for themselves and others with the disease. Their strength, courage and resiliency inspire us in our work to end MS forever.”
The Bike MS ride has taken place in LaGrange for the last two years. However, those who live with the disease face need support more than the one weekend a year that the race takes place.
“I actually have MS. I was diagnosed in 2009, and initially you get a diagnosis like that, and I didn’t know much about it,” said Tabitha Coverson, the executive director of Communities in Schools of Georgia in Troup County. “So, the first thing I thought was, ‘In another year, I won’t be able to walk,’ and those things. Then I started doing some research and reading.”
Coverson said that she learned a lot from that research, and she has since found other people in the community who also face the disease. However, it took a while to find local support and people to talk to about MS.
“The first couple of years weren’t easy, and it is not talked about a whole lot,” Coverson said. “We have the different events like walks and bike rides and things, but here in Georgia anyway it is on a smaller scale than some of the other diseases, so it was pretty much internet research. And so, I started posting about it on Facebook, and people would contact me like, ‘I have MS too,’ and so there is a pretty good sized community of people with MS here in Troup County.”
Coverson stays busy working to make sure local children have the resources that they need, but she hopes to raise awareness for MS as well.
“A lot of people still don’t want to talk about it because a lot of people still have the misconception that MS means that you aren’t going to be able to walk, that you aren’t going to be able to do certain things, and some things are that way,” Coverson said. “I’ve had to make a lot of adjustments.”
There currently is not a MS walk in Troup County, but a Walk MS: Columbus is scheduled to take place on April 7 at 10 a.m. To learn more about Multiple Sclerosis, visit Nationalmssociety.org.