Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. Symptoms run the gamut from mild, such as numbness, to severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. MS affects over 400,000 Americans, with 200 new cases diagnosed every week. In Colorado, the incidence rate is 84 of every 100,000, one of the highest in the country. Although more people are diagnosed today than previously, there is no evidence to suggest incidences are actually increasing. Researchers suggest that improved diagnostic tests and greater awareness of the disease may explain the higher diagnostic rate.
The month of March is MS Awareness Month. MS National Awareness Week, a second layer of attention on this condition, is celebrated typically the second week of March. The week, which ended on March 14, targets awareness and fundraising activities. The rest of the month focuses on education. This year, the organization launched a project that captures the everyday stories of people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). An interview team and photographers will travel the country, highlighting individual stories. Read about how the team plans to choose where to go. Watch the video below to meet the team, each of whom is also living with multiple sclerosis.
In addition to fundraising, the National MS Society follows government affairs, acts as an advocate for people with MS, and presses for increased research funding and focus. The Colorado chapter is in Denver.
The Rocky Mountain MS Center (RMMS) is a patient-centered organization and is not affiliated with the national organization, although it does celebrate MS Awareness Month. RMMS sponsors the King Adult Day Enrichment Program. The program is considered an international model for adult programs that serve people with MS. It runs weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The program is certified through Colorado State Health Department and staff includes certified therapeutic recreation specialists, nurses, certified nursing assistants, exercise specialists and meal preparation staff. Access to an on-call neurologist is also available. See details about fees and location. RMMS also offers hydrotherapy and a rehabilitation clinic.
RMMS hosts a Caregivers' Hot Topics forum on March 31, 2010 on the subject of "Home Help."
Kathryn writes as Denver Disability Examiner, Denver Mobility Products Examiner and Denver Senior Care Examiner. Contact for story ideas and other inquiries.