b'MS Focus ActivitiesFocus Makes Tomorrow Brighter for Many From Florida to Alaska, program improves lives nationwideThis past year, like the last, was dominated by the Novel Coronavirus 19. In this very challenging time, we here at MS Focus are more keenly aware than ever of the great needs of individuals within the MS community. The goal of our annual Brighter Tomorrow Grant program is to provide goods or services of up to $1,000 to improve quality of life for those living with multiple sclerosis by enhancing safety, self-sufficiency, comfort, or well-being. Those who have never received a BTG can apply annually from June 1 to Sept. 1. Applicants are asked to provide basic personal and nancial information, and to write a brief essay of 100 words or less to describe how the grant would help them have A Brighter Tomorrow. This year, the Brighter Tomorrow Grant program received 340 applications and 117 of them were approved for nearly $58,400. This years BTG recipients from around the country beneted from an array of goods and services: mattresses and washing machines, camera, canning good supplies, and an iRobot Roomba. The following 2021 BTG recipients shared how their lives would be improved thanks to help from MS Focus. A mattress to relieve the painMarita Bailey moved to Sitka, Alaska 10 years ago to pursue a professional career in counseling. I moved with very few possessions. Despite the high salary, the cost of living in Alaska is extreme, with average monthly rent exceeding $2,000 and groceries greatly exceeding that of the lower 48, averaging $450 per month for a family of two. Anything purchased has to be shipped in and adds to the expense.Many people do not understand the draw to stay in such a costly state. What I have found is the mild temperature associated with living in a temperate rainforest (southeast Alaska) has been exceptionally good for my MS and heat sensitivity. As I write this request it is June 6 and 48 degrees. These mild temperatures allow me to be active without the fatigue associated with heat sensitivity. I have a teenaged son who I also care and cover all expenses for. This leaves very little extra funds to cover items, like the mattress I am requesting. At the time I moved 10 years ago I purchased an inexpensive memory foam mattress, thinking I would only be in Alaska for three years. I have not yet been able to afford a replacement. I wake up daily with hip, lower back, and neck pain due to the poor mattress quality. The amount of time spent in bed warrants a good quality mattress. We agree that a good quality mattress is essential. Sleep well, Marita! msfocusmagazine.org 32'