Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) may feel like every other turn is a roadblock. But this doesn’t have to be a battle you face alone. Engaging with the MS community is a way to help you face your own challenges as well as help others.
When you’re familiar with this condition, sometimes the best support comes from those who are also going through it. Showing support within the MS community is a way to find a connection to others with MS and to raise awareness.
And getting involved is easy. Here are a few ways the National MS Society says you can reach out and help make a difference.
- Walk MS: Lace
up those shoes! Offering multiple distance options, these
walks are a fun way to not only get some exercise, but also gather with your
buddies or meet a new friend.
- Bike MS:
Get ready to ride. Bike
MS is another option for friendly competition. While you could hit up your
local gym for a cycling class, this event provides you an opportunity to get
out in the open and help others along the journey — both on the streets and
MS: And if you’re really feeling the adventure, MuckFest
MS has it for you. While MS might have you feeling stuck in the mud
sometimes, these races are all about embracing the dirt! A 5K interlaced with
course obstacles, this event is “built for laughs,” as their
website says. No prior experience needed, so why not give it a go?
- Do It Yourself
Fundraising MS: For those of you with ideas already brewing, this
opportunity will guide you through building your own events to fundraise
for MS. Some past ideas: going to terrible concerts sober, horseback riding,
and table decorating.
Remember, you’re human, after all. Gathering in social settings not only brings a sense of belonging, but also can be fun. Sometimes just having good laugh or feeling comfortable acting your true self brings enjoyment — and that applies for anyone.
And for when you need some day-to-day support, the MS community can provide that. Online resources exist that can help you share and bond with others. MSconnection.org is an online community where you can connect and chat in groups. The National MS Society also shares videos and posts on wearestrongerthanMS.org for you to learn about others’ stories and even share your own.
But if you’re still not convinced to get involved, one 2013 pilot study found a positive psychological effect from receiving support. Participants attended a peer support program for six weeks. The study found that there was a significant improvement in depression, stress, and anxiety among the 33 people who participated.
So why not get involved? It’s simple. Activities like walks, runs, cycling, and support groups exist for you and the rest of the MS community. To find an event near you, check out this tool.
And to see what others are already doing, we reached out to our Living with Multiple Sclerosis Facebook community to hear how they support MS.