This is an invisible illness for so many of us – the majority of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) aren’t in a wheelchair and don’t need a walker or even a cane. We mainly look just like everyone else. Even though I use a cane now, if you put me behind a desk or talk to me on the phone, there is nothing to distinguish me as having something special going on.
And that’s precisely why we need a time like MS Awareness month to ramp up the attention on multiple sclerosis. This isn’t to take away from all the other conditions out there that are equally deserving of awareness and media coverage, but this is our month. March is our time to put Multiple Sclerosis on display.
Awareness is not enough
Not so long ago, awareness seemed to be enough – we wanted to make people aware we have MS. But there is a major shift in priorities and we also now need to promote education, support and acceptance.
If you have MS, you know what I mean. There are so many well-intentioned people out there who think they know what we go through with MS, but as they say… until you walk in our shoes you can’t really know what it’s like to live with this chronic disease. Educating others about what my disease is, continues to be a priority.
Acceptance of people who are different has always been a problem, and acceptance of people with MS is no different. If people are educated about MS, they are more likely to understand and accept the limitations we face and support ways to include us in all facets of life.
How will you help?
How will you observe March and MS Awareness month? I hope your plans include finding ways to let others know more about MS. Or you might take the time to write your elected officials about supporting MS advocacy efforts for healthcare and legislative concerns. Whatever you do, it’s appreciated and helps to complete the MS awareness cycle.
Awareness, education, support and acceptance brings this invisible disease out into the public view, and we all benefit.
Wishing you well,
Does your employer provide workplace accommodations due to your MS?