People with MS were challenged yesterday, as part of World MS Day 2016, to celebrate all the ways that they maintain their independence and get on with their lives.
By sharing examples of independence from lots of different countries, the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation set out to inspire people to challenge perceptions of what people with MS can and cannot do.
Here’s just a few examples received from around the world:
MS doesn’t stop me …
… applying my skills
I work part-time at a computer centre. I can choose the hours I work and manage efficiently with limited energy. Being able to continue working makes me feel independent.
… staying active
Kayaking has been massively important to me. It has not only helped my physical rehabilitation; it has aided my mental wellbeing. Without kayaking, I am not sure my body would be as strong as it is now.
… running my business
Everyone at my workplace knows that I have MS, including my clients. I’ve had to become a role model in my community because there has been no one else for me to imitate.
… having the determination to succeed
It’s important to have dreams. I’m in my last year of high school and I imagine myself becoming a successful interior designer. When I think of something I want to do, I stay focused and determined until I succeed.
… being part of the family
I live in a centre which provides care for people with progressive MS. Since moving here, I am so much more independent. Now that my husband is no longer responsible for my care, I’m just part of the family and we can do nice things together.
… me empowering other people
I’ve always loved sport. Before being diagnosed with MS I was a keen footballer. I now coach a wheelchair basketball team. The most fulfilling part of it is helping other people build their confidence and find a sense of achievement.
… learning new things
I used to be a bank manager, but now I use my time to study new topics like history, astrology and painting. MS has given me the chance to do more for myself, gain knowledge and become a better person.
… spending time with my daughters
Nine years ago I was diagnosed with primary progressive MS. While my wife is at work, I take care of the household duties and look after our daughters when they finish school. Continuing to feel useful is very important.
… having inner strength
I was diagnosed with MS when my children were very young, which was really hard, but I didn’t let it drag me down. MS has shown me how strong I can be.
… living my life the way I want to
Catheters have made a big difference to my independence. I can relax about doing things like going out to meet friends… It’s also a bit of a party trick. I pull it out of my handbag and get people to guess what it is!
… seeing the beauty in life
We are examples of how people are living with MS. We are people on crutches, people in wheelchairs and we’re all living and working. The world doesn’t end because we have MS. We show people how they can continue to live with MS.
… getting out and about
My wheelchair is my constant companion and my assistant, helping me get from A to B. I rely on it to get me around, but I have never seen it as an embarrassment or a sign that says: “now I am disabled”.
… taking pride in my home
The little things I can do at home make me happy. I sweep the floor, dust the furniture and wash the dishes. It’s funny because I’d never done any housework before, but now I really enjoy it! I’ve learnt a lot from my MS.