Swim for MS News – July 2013

The July 2013 Winners are…
Missy Franklin Autographed Photo:
Congratulations Julia, for being the top Swim for MS fundraiser during the month of June!

Swimsuit Prize:
Congratulations Kara for winning a Swim for MS swimsuit! This suit was designed and made by HARDCORESWIM!

How do I Swim for MS?
Go the Distance – Individuals or teams set a challenge goal to swim a certain amount of laps, distance, or time during one day or over a set period of time.

Make a Splash – Participants turn fun pool activities into exciting fundraisers such as pool volleyball tournaments, cannonball jumping contests, and more!

How do I receive Community Service Credit?
If you or someone you know needs to fulfill community service hours – Swim for MS! Swim for MS is a “virtual volunteer opportunity” – this means that you contribute as much time as you can – when you can!

  • Register online at SwimForMS.org.
  • Set your challenge goal – Swim 100 laps in 10 hours and raise $150.
  • Ask your friends and family to support your cause.
  • Keep a log of hours swam and track your progress on your page.
  • Once completed, email swim@mymsaa.org to receive a confirmation letter of your hours!

Swim for MS Swimsuit Partnership
MSAA has partnered with HARDCORESWIM to provide exclusive Swim for MS swimsuits! HARDCORESWIM is based in Southern California and all items, from start to finish, are produced in the USA. Two different Swim for MS styles are available for men and women! Check out the Swim for MS page on their site and order your suit today!

In Other News
Please visit our Swim for MS News section on SwimForMS.org for more information on our CaféPress site, as well as our Swim for MS partners, Pura Vida and HARDCORESWIM.

If you have any questions, please contact us at swim@mymsaa.org.

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Greetings from the Midwest!

I’ve hosted many educational programs over the years, where I have had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people, who have enriched my life.

In these meetings, a common theme has emerged – Attitude. Presenters often speak to the importance of a positive attitude. It can have a profound impact on how we feel and handle the challenges we face each day.

One thing I hear often in the field is how frequently our clients take on a variety of challenges with a positive outlook.

One person who stands out is Dan, an MSAA client, that I met at a program. He shared his own story of overcoming obstacles with gusto and motivation. There are many individuals like Dan who come to our programs and share their struggles, as well as, their triumphs. These interactions are what make my work in the field so inspiring.

What a week in the Midwest! There were several programs held June 17-22 where clients had the pleasure to listen to prominent MS medical professionals in Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Each presented his approach for managing MS symptoms and improving quality of life. MS clients, family, friends, and caregivers were inspired. All attending learned much about the importance of nutrition, exercise, and appropriate medications. Many practical tips were discussed.

At one event in Wisconsin, I had the pleasure to meet Cheryl Vanderloop, MSAA’s Artist of the Month for June. She attended a program and introduced herself to me. She is very inspiring. At the end of the program, I surprised her by opening up our website via a wi-fi connection, where I displayed her work and introduced her to the many in attendance. She received a resounding round of applause. Her smile was infectious.

I urge all of you to attend our educational events. They’re fair, balanced, and lots of fun. Please check out MSAA’s Calendar of Events for a program near you. Also, if you have an idea for program topics please leave a comment below!
I look forward to seeing you during my travels throughout the great Midwest!
Smile!
Scott

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Father’s Day is almost here!

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
– Jim Valvano

Happy Father's Day from MSAAFather’s Day is an opportunity to honor the special fathers in your life. You can choose to honor your own dad, a brother, uncle, son, friend or co-worker. While those who believe in us deserve to be recognized every day, on this very special day, we can pause and give thanks.  

Honor these special men with a donation to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA). Your donation will help us to fulfill our mission of improving lives today for the entire MS community. With each gift, you will have the option to send a personalized online card to the person being honored, letting him know of your support of MSAA.  

Your gift enables MSAA to provide vital services and support such as our toll-free Helpline, equipment distribution, MRI assistance, and more.  

“I am brimming with gratitude and appreciation for the generous support of the MSAA for the MRI scan which I received. The scan produced positive results informing my neurologist and me that my condition was stable. This fellow cannot say enough good things about MSAA!”   - GLW, Georgia

Please make your special Father’s Day donation today! Improve lives today by honoring the special men in your life.

Happy Father’s Day!

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Spots Still Open for MSAA’s Children’s Program in Denver, CO

There are several open registrations remaining for MSAA’s upcoming patient education program at Dave & Buster’s in Denver, CO on Saturday, June 15th at 9 am. The free program titled, Bridging the Communication Gap between Parents with MS and Their Children, invites parents and children to come together for special workshops which teach parents how to talk to their children about MS and enable children to learn about living with MS in a supportive manner through fun, interactive games and activities. The morning begins with a full breakfast buffet and ends with each child registered receiving a free $10 Power Card for video and arcade games following the program. Registration is required by June 13, 2013. To register, please call the RSVP at (800) 532-7667, extension 155 or RSVP online at support.mymsaa.org/dbdenverco.

The Denver event marks the third children’s program in a series of six this year which are scheduled across the United States. The presenters include Dr. David Rintell from Harvard Medical School and Sue Rehmus, MSAA board member and founder of her own nonprofit, Children’s Hope for Understanding Multiple Sclerosis (CHUMS). After a summer break, the remaining children’s programs will begin in the fall and are scheduled for September 21st in Boston, MA; October 19th in Baltimore, MD; and November 9th in Orlando, FL. The response to these programs has been tremendous and we would love to get your feedback if you have attended pervious programs or want MSAA to bring a children’s program to your area. Please let us know by responding to this post, emailing us at msquestions@mymsaa.org or calling (800) 532-7667, extension 154.

 

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World MS Day 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 is World MS Day.  To mark this occasion MSAA will be participating in a Twitter Chat with Healthline at 11 AM today. To join the chat please visit:http://www.healthline.com/health/27487.

To help raise awareness of what it is like living with multiple sclerosis the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation created a video of six inspiring young people from around the world have shared their mottos for identity, relationships and the future.

What’s your Motto? from World MS Day on Vimeo.

MSAA encourages to show your support for World MS Day and inspire the world by sharing a motto that gives you strength, even in the most challenging of times.

 

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Lesson from a Mom with MS: You’re Stronger Than You Think

By Hannah Cusworh
2013 Swim for MS Participant

You’ve heard of all the banal platitudes like “Never take ‘no’ for an answer,” “If you fall off the horse, get right back up,” and ”When there’s a will, there’s a way” – I’m almost certain my mother coined all of those phrases.

My mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at a young age when she started losing vision in one of her eyes. Fortunately that symptom subsided and she continued living her life as she intended. Four kids and a few decades later, the disease awoke again with a force to be reckoned with. Our warm summer beach vacations were moved to cool mountain ranges in order to minimize her exhaustion. Our Sunday afternoon bike trails shortened. Our floor-level card games moved to higher ground. Afternoon rests became a daily routine. Our everyday Mom activities had changed forever. At least that’s how I saw it.

My mother, on the other hand, never let that be the case. She never sought out pity from others, she never asked for help. Anything we did before, she’d find the strength to do it in her own new way. She wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer, she got back up on her horse, and she found a way. Yes, her everyday mobility has shifted towards a slightly different way of living, but life hasn’t changed.

While many cases of MS can be much more debilitating than the one my mother battles, I encourage those suffering from this life-changing disease to maintain the strength my mother has shown me. In honor of her continuing battle and as a tribute to her perseverance, this April I took on a personal “Swim for MS” challenge to swim 500 laps and raise $1,000 in 30 days. Sound hard? Not when you have this kind of inspiration.

Read more about Hannah’s Swim for MS on her webpage today!

 

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MSAA’s Artist of the Month for April 2013

We have received many wonderful submissions from across the country and are delighted to share their work and their stories with you. Please visit our online gallery to view all of the submissions.

April 2013 Artist of the Month:  Susan C. Russo – Pearland, TX

 

artist april 2013

 

 


 

 

 

“I have been interested in art since I was a child. I love the creative process. I just close my eyes and let my thoughts come to life. I feel that my work is an expression of God’s love and His gift to me. It would be a great injustice not to share the talent He has given me.

Additionally, art is a beautiful expression of not letting my MS gets the best of me. On days when I don’t feel all that well, I just pick up a brush or pastel and express my feelings in my paintings and drawings…”
Read more from Susan…

Be inspired – please send an online card featuring artwork by MS artist Susan C. Russo and spread awareness of MS and MSAA.

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Anna’s Adventures at SXSW, Part 1

Hi Y’All from Austin, Texas!

Hello to my friends at MSAA from South-By-Southwest (SXSW)! SXSW, is a 10-day music, interactive and film conference jam-packed with movie premieres, awards, panels, tech conferences, “tweetups”, concerts, parties and more! This is my SIXTH year at SXSW and there’s sure a lot in-store for me and my photography team as we embark on yet another musical journey during a very volatile, chaotic, and increasingly popular festival!

This year my agenda includes participating in a party hosted at Willie Nelson’s ranch (Luck, Texas) called the Heartbreaker Banquet. This is the second year I am participating in the Heartbreaker Banquet, I was part of the first-ever Heartbreaker Banquet last year at SXSW. The idea for this party came from a friend of mine, who worked tirelessly to secure the sponsors and Willie Nelson’s ranch!  For those of you who do not know Luck, Texas is the original set for the Red Headed Stranger movie and currently serves as Willie Nelson’s world headquarters. Last year, I did portraits in the jailhouse on the ranch; this year I’ve rented a 1963 retro Airstream trailer where I will be taking band portraits of the performers at the Heartbreaker Banquet. I am happy to announce this year’s Heartbreaker Banquet  has doubled in size, going from eight bands playing on two stages to 16 bands and THREE stages!

I will also be putting up a music photography gallery of my work and the work of another wonderful photographer friend of mine, Courtney Chavanell. The public will be able to view and purchase all of our portraits in Willie’s General Store on the ranch.

I am looking forward to sharing photos and stories from the Heartbreaker Banquet, so stay tuned! (Or follow the story on Twitter or Instagram!)

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Multiple Sclerosis Association of America Teams Up With SwimOutlet.com To Promote Swim For MS

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is pleased to announce its new partnership with SwimOutlet.com, the web’s most popular swim shop, to help promote the charity’s national fundraiser, Swim for MS. Serving as the distribution sponsor for Swim for MS, SwimOutlet.com will feature promotional information and ongoing updates on swim events through newsletter articles, targeted email campaigns, and posts on social media including Facebook and Twitter.

Supported by national sponsor Genzyme Corporation, Swim for MS is a unique fundraiser in which volunteers are encouraged to create their own swim challenge while recruiting online donations from supporters. Swim challenges can range from swimming laps for pledges to jumping cannonballs for cash. Swim for MS appeals to swim enthusiasts of all ages, social and community groups, students seeking volunteer service hours, and families enjoying their backyard pool. For more information and to register, visit SwimforMS.org.

“We’re incredibly pleased to support the MSAA by spreading the word of their Swim for MS initiative,” said Rob Penner, VP, Sports Marketing at SwimOutlet.com. “Together with the help of the aquatic community, they can continue to improve the lives of the MS community through their wide-range of services and programs.”

Adding additional awareness and excitement to the fundraiser, MSAA has enlisted the volunteer support of four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin to serve as the Swim for MS Ambassador. Franklin is featured in a series of flyers, brochures and a new national television public service announcement, encouraging individuals to participate in this exciting fundraiser which supports vital programs and services for the multiple sclerosis community. Starting in March, MSAA will award the top fundraiser of the month with an autographed photo of Missy, providing the minimum amount raised is $500.

“Swim for MS provides an individual or group the opportunity to combine one’s love of swimming with giving back to the community,” states Franklin. “Start your Swim for MS campaign today and make a difference!”

About SwimOutlet.com
SwimOutlet.com is the largest online specialty store for aquatics in the United States. The online retail store grew out of a dedication to providing the best goods and services to anyone interested in aquatic activities and sports. SwimOutlet.com has the largest selection for swimming, water polo, fashion, beach and surf! In addition to having an extensive selection and the lowest prices, SwimOutlet.com offers phenomenal customer service and fast shipping. The company has won the hearts of over two million happy customers who’ve helped spread the word on where to find the best deals.  It has quickly developed into the web’s most popular swim shop! For more information, visit http://www.swimoutlet.com.

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Staying Active with MS

My exercising pursuits probably started at age one and a half when my foiled gymnastics routine failed to propel me out of the crib. Already I showed signs of being active and rambunctious and my “antics” did not stop despite stitches from my failed attempt. At age six my mother watched in horror as someone pointed to a young girl, her daughter, about to jump from the high diving board. Finally, at age eight she enrolled me in PAL (Police Athletic League), in an effort to allow me to channel my excess energy constructively.

I continued an active life style throughout my life, until I was diagnosed with MS.

In August of 2009 I was training for my first half marathon when I was diagnosed with RRMS. The diagnosis came as a shock to me because I was not only fit but maintained a healthy lifestyle.  The news, was a shock to me and I wasn’t sure how to cope.

After the diagnosis I shut everyone and everything from my life, including running and working out. I could not envision going for a run and collapsing from an MS episode. I truly had no idea what to expect but I had anticipated the worst of what could happen.  I couldn’t go to the gym and have my ego remind me of what I could no longer do.

As I struggled with the disease I became increasingly depressed. In the past, running would always assuage any crisis I had to face; I no longer had that outlet to release my depression and frustrations.  It was a catch 22 – if I went out for a run I could collapse (in my mind) and if I didn’t I would sink further into an abyss that I had created.

It took months for me to realize that I had hit a wall built not out of mortar but fear and indecision. MS had already proven to me that I would not have the same life that I had enjoyed in the past. So, why could I think that I could easily go back to my “old” form of exercising?   Reluctantly I had to give up starting off at the high diving board and had to wade into the kiddy pool instead.

And so as my frame of mind changed so did my temperament and condition. I started jogging slowly, almost at a walk, and much less distance than I was accustomed to. I had no delusions of grandeur, only of building up my courage and stamina at whatever pace I could manage at the time.

I also changed to a gym that had a pool.  Swimming was an activity that I had not done since I was a kid.  I wasn’t strong but I just wanted to get into the pool and swim a few laps at a time. The warmth of the water me gave me the impetus to stay in longer and achieve a little more each time. There was a familiar and safe emotional sensation that would flood my senses as the memories that I had as a kid, swimming in Puerto Rico and the JCC (Jewish Community Center), would come to the surface.

My legs finally started getting stronger and my attitude shifted to one of jubilance. I became more positive about the future and my life with MS. I realized how much I missed exercising. It had always been such an important part of my life. But more so, the endorphins that were released while I worked out had a positive impact on how I felt.

I also realized that it didn’t take much for me to fulfill the joy that exercising once brought me. It was as simple as exercising with light weights, going for a walk, or aerobic swimming.

I didn’t have to try to set out to break any type of record. I needed to listen to my body when it was telling me that it was as important to exercise my body muscles as it was the brain muscles. If I didn’t use them they would atrophy, as they were already doing. And, when my body was tired I needed to heed and do less.

My “baby step” routine continued until I was finally able to run my first half marathon last year and four months later completed an 817 mile hike through the Arizona Trail.

We all have different compositional make ups. Our MS symptoms are different and so we need to tailor our activities according to our capabilities. Any form of exercise, at our own pace, is instrumental to our physical and emotional and well being.

Please note: If you are looking to start any new exercise routine you should first consult with your physician.

 

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