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Maintaining awareness after MS awareness month

By Matt Cavallo

During the month of March, my social media feed is filled with multiple sclerosis awareness stories and events. I see photos of MS walk and bike events on my feed and people sharing their personal stories, as well as, a plethora of educational resources such as articles and videos pertaining to MS. March encapsulates MS awareness.

There is an old proverb that says March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. While this expression is typically about the weather, MS social awareness posts and events also tend roar at the beginning of the month and then taper off and quiet down as the month progresses. However, these stories should not go quietly into April. While raising awareness is important, maintaining awareness after MS Awareness Month is equally as important. 

Here are some reasons why it is so critical to maintain MS awareness throughout the year:

Helping the newly diagnosed: According to Johns Hopkins, approximately 200 people are diagnosed in the U.S. every week with MS. Newly diagnosed and their love ones benefit greatly from the experience of the MS community. The personal stories, the events, and articles can raise awareness of those newly diagnosed and can provide hope.

Funding for MS nonprofits: MS is the most common neurological disorder and there is strength in numbers. MS nonprofits, such as MS Focus: the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, provide financial support and educational resources for those living with MS. Awareness can help these nonprofits reach their funding goals so that they can continue to provide support to the MS community.

MS research: I was diagnosed in 2005 with MS. At the time there were four approved MS treatments. Now there are more than 20 MS treatments thanks to science and research. There is a lot of research happening with MS to not only help improve the quality of life for those living with MS, but also hopefully one day help find a cure. 

Improving mental health: MS is a lonely, isolating disease. MS awareness helps connect people to form a community that helps with the isolation and loneliness of the disease. 

Promoting an active lifestyle: MS awareness can help motivate a person living with MS to exercise or become more active. 

Promoting health eating habits: MS awareness about nutrition and what not to eat can help people make informed choices when it comes to diet.

Sharing success stories: When making a decision, it is always helpful to hear a story of someone who has been there before. These personal stories of living with MS help raise awareness.

Inspire others: Raising awareness for MS may inspire those around you and get them active in raising MS awareness. There is power in numbers.

MS Awareness Month is incredibly important to raising awareness for MS. However, maintaining that MS awareness is just as important. Maintaining MS awareness has the power to reach more people through social media and has the potential to inspire others to do the same and spread the word.