Is that Spring around the corner?

As we say goodbye to the shortest month of the year some parts of the country will begin to transition seasons. In particular parts of the country, it actually starts warming up to give milder spring like temperatures. While spring is considered a temperate and pleasant time by most, in some areas there may even be a few uncomfortably warm days.

This year, prepare early and get your cooling vest before those too warm (or in the summer, downright HOT) days arrive!  MSAA offers a program which provides free cooling vests and accessories to eligible individuals. Now is the perfect time to contact MSAA before the busy cooling season begins.You can learn more about how to apply for cooling at the following link:


Share Button

A Bit of History…

The month of February is known to be a truly significant time within our calendar year. It is not only famous for highlighting the celebration of love and romance, but more so for the celebrated significance of African American History. It is a time designated to reflect on the historical figures and moments that have impacted our world in truly significant ways. Celebrating cultural history can influence individuals to stop and reflect on a more diverse and complete national history. Observing significant historical figures and events that have occurred throughout the years can be an educational and treasured experience. It is important to know that celebrating and embracing our Nations diverse history is not something that needs to be highlighted just for one month, but instead throughout the year.

Share Button

February’s Artist of the Month

Presenting MSAA’s Artist of the Month for February 2013

artist of the month 2_13


MSAA is very proud to present our Art Showcasecelebrating the work of artists affected by MS.

February Artist of the Month:
Mary E. Hetzel-Tingler – Hixson, TN

 “I was diagnosed with RRMS on Valentine’s Day 2006. I have been an artist nearly my entire life and this was quite a blow to be dealt, to not be able to create again. I started spending time daydreaming about the paintings I would do, and something magical happened. I started to visualize concepts, instead of just copying pictures or sitting outside and painting nature, or doing portraits like I did in the past. Even though I couldn’t paint them, I envisioned and captured the feelings and remembered them.

As I got more function back I did the first painting called ”Pitiful Joy” 2006. It was the first painting I did completely from my head, representing my loss of vision and speech, yet a mind alight with music, sculpture and art.”

Be inspired – please send an online card featuring artwork by MS artist Mary E. Hetzel-Tingler and spread awareness of MS and MSAA.


Share Button

MSAA Launches New Website

MSAA is thrilled to announce our completely redesigned and updated website –! features new sections and enhancements, developed with the goal of providing easier access to more information, more resources, and vital tools for the entire multiple sclerosis (MS) community.

Highlights include:

Take time today to visit!

Share Button

Oscar Week Fun: (Somewhat) Inspirational Quotes from Oscar-Nominated Movies

And now for something completely different, but hopefully enjoyable:

In honor of the 85th Annual Academy Awards this Sunday, I thought it would be fun to post a sampling of some famous (or slightly famous, but still memorable) quotes from some past Oscar nominees!

To be clear: films are one of our best art forms, movie-watching a favorite pastime all over the world…but, as with any good art and creative output, everyone has their own varying opinions as to what constitutes the “best” or “the most” anything.

So, with that, let me share with you some of MY favorite (somewhat) inspirational quotes from some of my favorite Oscar-nominated movies of the past 30+ years:

  • “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
    – Doc Brown, BACK TO THE FUTURE
  • “Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.”
  • “I really do have love to give! I just don’t know where to put it.”
    – Quiz Kid Donnie Smith, MAGNOLIA
  • “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
    – Mahatma Gandhi, GHANDI
  • “I love this place at night, the stars. There’s no right or wrong in them. They’re just there.”
    – Sgt. Elias, PLATOON
  • “Immediately after making this statement, Royal realized that it was true.”
  • “Meet me… in Montauk…”
  • “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.”
    – Lester Bangs, ALMOST FAMOUS
  • “To begin with, EVERYTHING.”
    – Russell Hammond (when asked what he loves about music), ALMOST FAMOUS
  • “I’ll… be… right… here.”
    – E.T. (pointing to Elliott’s forehead when leaving), E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL

What are YOUR favorite inspirational movie quotes? Did you take away any favorite quotes from this year’s crop of Oscar nominees?

Share Button

Your Best Friend

Valentine’s Day is a great time to show others you care about them, but can also be a reminder of relationships or friendships which have been lost or times when people have let you down.

Life is seldom predictable. Even the people and relationships that we choose to surround us may evolve or change over time.

Now that Valentine’s has come and gone, it is a good time to reflect on maintaining and drawing strength from the one constant in your life — this person is your biggest advocate, your strongest supporter, someone who never leaves your side through the good or bad…it’s YOU.

When things get difficult and complicated, or when you are feeling alone, show yourself compassion, give yourself support, and be own your biggest cheerleader; be your own best friend.

Share Button

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

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is pleased to announce its new partnership with, 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, 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

“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 “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 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. has the largest selection for swimming, water polo, fashion, beach and surf! In addition to having an extensive selection and the lowest prices, 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

Share Button

Mindfulness: A Special State of Mind

By: Dr. Miriam Franco

The term mindfulness is certainly getting much use these days. Such phrases as “be mindful”, “practice mindful meditation”, and “be in the moment” are interspersed in daily conversation across various areas of life. Yet many find it hard to really understand, in plain English, just what mindfulness really means.

Mindfulness is a particular conscious state of mind that, with practice, can sharpen certain mental faculties, processes and modes of awareness. It stems originally from Vipassana, one of the oldest of Buddhist meditation practices. In this practice, there is a direct and gradual cultivation of awareness. Over time, your attention is carefully directed to an intense examination of aspects of your existence. As you learn to relax and meditate, you learn to become attentive more and more to the flow of life experience. It is, in effect, a form of sensitivity training, a type of method of exercising your awareness. It engages attentive listening, full seeing and careful observation allowing you to be more present in the moment. Take in the particular features and aspects of experience as in smell more acutely, touch more fully and really pay close attention to what you feel.The purpose of becoming more mindful in this way is to learn to really pay attention without judgment and constant distraction.

Often we think we are doing this, but just as frequently this is an illusion. In a mindful state, we cultivate a special way of seeing reality. Instead of looking at life through a constant stream of concepts and thoughts or mental objects we mistake for reality, we learn to not get so caught up in endless thinking and let reality float by unnoticed. Rather than spending time being engaged in activity and distractions, pursuing an eternal path of pleasure and security, or fleeing from pain and unpleasantness, we train ourselves to ignore the constant urge to be more comfortable. It is often ironically stated in meditational practice that real peace comes only when you stop chasing it.

This state of mind can be achieved through meditation training or relaxation and sensory meditation training (Guided Imagery). In time, we slowly become more attuned and in touch with the way we actually are. Life has a much deeper texture if we bother to reflect on it and to look in at it in this way of practice. It’s a type of self-discovery process in which you observe your own experiences while participating in them as they occur. Over time, you find yourself observing things more the way they are flowing and changing and interacting with them more fully from moment to moment. This can add a relaxed, reflective attitude towards one’s self, others and life. This special mode of perception is called mindfulness.

*Dr. Miriam Franco is a psychologist in private practice in Wayne, PA and is a certified MS specialist and a Guided Imagery specialist. She also serves on the Health Care Advisory Council of the MSAA and is a Professor of Sociology at Immaculata University.

Share Button

Thinking of a Trip?

It is the season for romantic gestures, togetherness, and displaying affection with those you love. Maybe you have even considered planning a getaway or special trip. For many individuals with MS, booking travel can become complicated when special accommodations may be required. Ultimately, instead of excitedly anticipating your trip you may end up feeling that the planning process ends up being more time than it is worth.

The United Spinal Association (a member of the MS Coalition) offers a website with accessible travel needs in mind. Able to Travel provides information on accessible tours, equipment rentals while you are traveling, and travel tips for booking accessible hotels and air travel.

So, if the last thing you need is more stress while planning your trip you may want to check out their website.

(Please note that Able to Travel is a program affiliated with the United Spinal Association and is not a program of MSAA).

Share Button

Let’s Just Stay in Tonight…

With the demands of today’s society we constantly find ourselves on the go. Always trying to complete some type of task or activity that’s required of the day, we sometimes run out of hours to set aside for the special people in our lives. We become busy with many other things so it’s easy to lose track of the time to spend with the significant other in your life. Making time for each other in a busy world is key. Continuing to go on dates, finding time to spend together, or even having a simple conversation can make each counterpart feel special and appreciated within the relationship. It doesn’t need to be something extravagant. Spending the night in just relaxing and watching a movie can be a perfect opportunity to share special moments together. It’s not the activity that’s important; it’s the simple act of being together that signifies affection.

Share Button