It’s Our Turn

Look around the calendar and you will find the months littered with colors, all intended to raise awareness for a specific cause. You would have to live under a rock to not know THE color for the month of October is pink, for breast cancer. Pink clothing and extensive pink marketing programs are everywhere. Experts say the odds are one in eight for women to be diagnosed with breast cancer. The odds of holding a food item or store purchase in the month of October that has a pink ribbon on it must be one in two. The pink ribbon folks lead the way with getting the word out.

We have just turned the page on February, known as the Red month for heart health awareness. As a heart attack survivor, I am particularly fond of the Go Red for Women movement that is celebrated in February. One in two odds for women to have heart disease is staggering and hard to ignore. February is the shortest month of the year and we push hard to use each one of those 28 days to bring out the Red and encourage women to know their numbers and signs of heart disease.

It’s difficult in either October or February to NOT see Pink ribbons or Red dress pins on a daily basis – and that’s a good thing. We’ve made great progress in the fight against breast cancer and strides for heart disease. Making the public aware of the signs of these deadly diseases is critical in the fight. Other months have their own special “colors”, too.

Now think about March. What combination of orange and advertisers have you seen for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness? Go ahead and name three … or two or even one. If you are like me you don’t see much orange out there to grab the attention of the public.

MS is a quiet disease that lurks in the background for so many people, and the challenge is to raise awareness rather than let the month of March quietly slip by. MS Awareness was given a 31 day month – three more days than the Red Month and we should take advantage of all of them. Not everyone can wear orange and wear it well, but no one wears MS well, either.

The challenge: besides wearing orange, how can we increase awareness of MS? The short list might include put an MS Awareness note on your Facebook page, form an MS Walk team or speaking up to let people know you have MS and are available to answer any questions they might have.

What better way to share the message of Multiple Sclerosis than a thank-you note to someone who helps to make your life better, in spite of having MS? This could be a friend or neighbor who has done a kind act for you like baking cookies as a treat or stopping at the grocery for you when you have used your last egg. Or share a bowl of oranges at work, or church or anywhere you gather with other people and explain the meaning of the color.

Resolve to join the movement to raise awareness of Multiple Sclerosis this month and bring out the orange clothing to wear. Help tell the world that MS is out there and we could use some attention. While it’s impossible to find a word that rhymes with orange, it’s not that hard to work orange it into our conversations.

What will you do to bring awareness to our cause?

Wishing you well,
Laura

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Comments

View Comments (3)
  • Joann
    6 years ago

    I agree.
    I have a close freind dealing with MS & it’s kinda easy to understand what she is going throgh.
    Today was very hard for her because she had all kinds of test in almost every port of her body.
    I spoke to her & listened.Listening is the most important part of helping someone.
    We live in New Jersey & I know of no MS groups in the area where those w/ friend’s of MS can discuss”how to support a freind in need with out making them feel helpless.
    AA & NA have all support groups & a open discussion forum,if the person feel’s comfortable to speak.
    Q.How would I start one?
    Q.Do I just let it be & be there for her?
    Q.So many Q.& that’s just a few i had.
    Thanks,Joann

  • Laura Kolaczkowski author
    6 years ago

    Joann, your friend is fortunate to have someone like you who wants to help make her journey with MS less lonely. I have a few suggestions for you to consider –

    This website is a brand new resource for all of us, and while there is little activity there yet, I would encourage you to begin a discussion about your questions with other caregivers at the forum at
    http://multiplesclerosis.net/forums

    Patrick has decades of experience as a caregiver and you should check out his blog – he will have ideas for you, too

    http://multiplesclerosis.net/blog/who-i-am-and-how-i-got-here/

    The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has many resources available, including support groups for patients and for caregivers.

    Education is the key to living with MS and the more you can learn about this disease, the better equipped you will be to help your friend.

    Listen to your friend – if it isn’t said in words, I imagine you can pick up on the clues as to what might or might not be appropriate at the time. She’s fortunate to have you close and I know you’ll find ways that help without making her feel dependent on you.

    be well, Laura

  • Nicole Lemelle
    6 years ago

    What a wonderful point. I do not think the issue is pushed nearly as hard as the others.

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