About MSAA

As a national nonprofit organization, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America is a leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a toll-free Helpline; award-winning publications including a magazine, The Motivator; website featuring educational videos and research updates; S.E.A.R.C.H.™ program to assist the MS community with learning about different treatment choices; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™; a resource database, My MS Resource Locator; equipment distribution ranging from grab bars to wheelchairs; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; educational events and activities; MRI funding and insurance advocacy; and more. For additional information, please visit http://www.mymsaa.org or call (800) 532-7667.

Balancing Whimsy and Invisible Forces

By Stacie Prada

Art that resonates with me changes depending on where I am in my life, how I’m feeling, and what I’m facing. Some things I loved at certain points in my life I love because they spoke to me at that time. I think if I were to first see some of them today, I would not connect in the same way as I did back then. I have some pieces that spoke to me during dark times that I chose to let go when times changed and they no longer brought me solace.  Others have endured through life changes and still resonate.

Continue reading
Share Button

Letters to Myself

By Gina Ross Murdoch

As we approach the end of our fiscal year, I find myself reflecting on the last year. We have all seen such change in our lives and our organization that a moment to think seemed appropriate. A colleague recently spoke about the power of writing “a letter to myself,” telling the “past MSAA” what was ahead. I also see great value in writing a letter to our “future MSAA” with our hopes and dreams.

Gina Ross Murdoch
Continue reading
Share Button

A Hobby Lobby

By Doug Ankerman

Work may define us but it is our hobbies that makes us unique.

Hobbies give you zest. Give you fire. They put a sparkle in your eye.

A hobby is what makes you – YOU.

So don’t let anything, like the dreaded ick we call multiple sclerosis, take your hobbies away from you.

MS is no reason to give up an activity you love. Accommodations can be made so you may continue doing what you want to do.

Like to paint but can’t hold a brush? Don’t let that stop you. There are dozens of computer programs that allow you to create (and no messy clean-up!).

Like to dance but can’t stand? Take a chair onto the dance floor, plop down & shake your bootie, dammit. Believe me, you’ll have more dance partners than you can handle as others will gravitate to your spunk.

Like to garden? Get down & get dirty. I can’t walk in grass & mulch either, so I crawl through the flowerbeds slow as an earthworm. A garden gnome with filthy knees.

My point is, you can do whatever you want…by planning. Come to terms with your MS by saying “We’re gonna do it within reason, and this is how.” Then do it.

Here are a few of my favorite daily activities…

Continue reading
Share Button

Joy in Hobbies 

By Lauren Kovacs

Joy seems to morph. Be open to fluid change. The changes in MS will make you see the ebb and flow. Ride the wave. The current might bring you to a hobby you would never try.

Yah yah, flowery language aside. Embrace the change, people. Try to at least. MS is about trying. Try on many faces until it fits. It is kinda like jeans. You try on several pairs. If your butt looks good, buy them. If you can do it and like it, try it.  But, remember to rest and don’t get hot.

Try a new hobby. If MS changes, try another. If it is not for you, try another. The list is endless. No tests or grades.  Maybe try something outside the box.  

Continue reading
Share Button

The Liberation & Necessity of Hobby Accommodations

By Stacie Prada

Often the statement is said, “MS took from me…(fill in the blank)…”  Multiple sclerosis takes a lot physically and emotionally, and it is frustrating and depressing. There’s no getting around the ongoing loss and grieving process of living with a chronic and progressive illness. It deserves acknowledgement and shouldn’t be minimized or dismissed.

Image of an orange colored post-it reading "Hobby Accommodations" emphasizing the topic of guest blogger Stacie Prada

Being optimistic and living well with MS demands immense resilience and coping skills. It also benefits from accommodations and adaptive technology. While often described and prescribed for work and personal grooming, accommodations that support ongoing participation in hobbies are especially joy-inducing. They help reduce or perhaps delay some things on the long list of things that MS took from a person.

Accommodations are crucial for how they can make an activity rewarding and fulfilling instead of a reminder of how much we can’t do anymore. Thinking about what makes an activity difficult will help determine which accommodations would be useful for an individual.

Continue reading
Share Button

Ask the Expert – MRI and MS

Featuring Barry A. Hendin, MD
MSAA’s Chief Medical Officer

Headshot of doctor Barry Hendin, chief medical officer for MSAA

Question: How often is an MRI recommended, and is it still needed when symptoms have not worsened?

Answer: Although there is a wide variation in the use and frequency of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) testing in neurological practices, it may be helpful to begin by considering why we get MRI scans for people with MS.

Continue reading
Share Button

AFO-Yeah

By Doug Ankerman

I’m not a betting man but if you have multiple sclerosis, odds are in your favor you suffer from foot drop.  Foot drop is that draggy, MS hex where your foot never seems to clear the floor for a normal step. It hinders your balance and can make you prone to falls.

The most popular way to beat foot drop is wearing an ankle foot orthotic or AFO.

AFO’s aren’t cheap (what medical device is?), so it would seem an AFO should have more uses than just preventing foot drop.

That’s where I come in.

After much research, here are some other ways your AFO can help around the house…

Continue reading
Share Button

MS Springs: Spasticity & Spasms

By Stacie Prada

Spring is a time of fresh starts and emerging from winter. Spring is a season, a mindset, and a promise of better days ahead. Lately, spring for me is the overreaction my arms and legs give for a slight touch. Reflexes that have always overreacted to the tap on the shin or elbow are now exaggerated to a point that seems almost comical for the physical threat they pose to anyone within reach.

Spring now correlates with spasticity and spasms for me. The energy and movements my limbs release are disproportionate to the touch that triggers them. A limb’s quick return to original position and residual spasms mimic the vibration and cartoonish boing of a spring as it comes to rest.

My spasticity isn’t what I anticipated from the descriptions I’d researched over the years.

Continue reading
Share Button

Spring 2022 April

By Lauren Kovacs

Old man winter is finally sleeping. While bikini weather is not welcome, the sunshine is and I need it and flowers. Heat I can do without. I need the grey to go away.

NC this year has had strange weather. Gosh, I sound like an old man talking about the weather. I promise I am not an old man. Old…some days I feel old.

Spring is full of rain and up and weather. NC has big swings, this time of year. Now we are in season five. Pollen. It is like snow and it also means cold, wet, grey skies, but dormant vegetation are about to vanish. My favorite chocolate is around too. It better start laying those Cadbury Creme Eggs. Come on furball, lay those eggs faster.

Continue reading
Share Button

A Thank-You for National Volunteer Week 2022

Learn more about National Volunteer Week April 17-23 with MSAA

In the spirit of National Volunteer Week, MSAA wants to recognize the incredible volunteers that support us year-round in all that we do.

Day in and day out, MSAA relies on so many to help drive our organization forward so we can provide more support, more services, and more impact for those living with MS and their care partners:

Continue reading
Share Button