MS has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. When I was a young kid, my grandfather suffered from the disease and moved in with us so we could help care for him. Then years later, I was diagnosed with the disease. So raising awareness for MS has always been a big deal for me.
When I was younger, I focused on raising as much money as I could for MS research (which I guess if you think about it, actually ended up benefitting me). I remember my grade school would take part in a Read-a-thon for MS each year, and I always worked hard to read the most and raise the most money at my school because I felt like it was duty because of my grandfather. It also helped me feel like I was doing something and I’m sure that helped me cope with seeing him struggle. As I got older, I started focusing on the MS walk and not only raising money that way but also distributing information via pamphlets and whatnot.
After I was diagnosed, MS awareness took on a whole meaning for me. I actually felt a bit weird about asking for donations for things like the MS walk, but at the same time, the MS walk and MS awareness month began to mean a whole lot more to my friends and family. Like it did for me with my grandfather, it allowed them to feel helpful. Not only by raising money but sharing information about the disease. I remember when social media started to really blossom and seeing my friends share items about MS, it always made me feel loved and I know it made them feel better. So remember, MS awareness month isn’t only beneficial to us, it can be a way to help those that love us feel like they are able to contribute.
While I obviously share a lot about MS and my life with MS all of the time, it always has special meaning during MS Awareness month. These days, my biggest goals around this month aren’t about raising money but about fostering understanding. There are so many misconceptions about MS out there, so I try my best to share a lot of simplified posts with the very basics of the disease. I feel like we are at a point where so many people finally have somewhat of an idea about MS and this is a good month to help drive the facts home. I am always open to new ideas though!
As for what it means to me, these days I push hard to raise MS awareness for the next generation of folks with the disease. The future Devin’s that haven’t been diagnosed yet. The more we spread the word now, the better off their lives will be and that’s important to me. What does MS awareness mean to you?