April 2018 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

MSAA is very proud to present our 2018-19 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).

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 new submissions.

Bethany Conway – Big Flats, NY
April Rain

About the Artist:
“My diagnosis was nothing more than a blessing as it enabled me to realize I only have one chance at this life. It caused me to take a turn from the dark road I was heading down, come into the light and make better choices for myself. I strive to live with intention and embrace every season of it.”
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Finding a Support Network

A support network is somewhere that you can share feelings or vent frustrations – a place to be able to check in and touch base with others or make connections. Ultimately, it’s a system that is there for you without judgment or expectation that you can depend on. That’s what members have found on our platform, My MSAA Community. This online forum not only offers a safe place to ask questions and find information, it has also become a reliable “check-in” community for those involved.

Updates are often sent to one another, as members check in with the community to let everyone know about their medical appointments to get feedback and encouraging words.

“I know it can be overwhelming with all the different tests and doctors. Try to relax (I know, easier said than done). Good luck.”
– Community Member

Countless moments of kindness and empathy can often be found on the community, especially as members face some challenging issues such as depression. Community members often find themselves showered with support. Members also reach out to each other to ask how things are, to send well wishes when needed, and to offer encouragement to those having a difficult time. One member of the community shares, “just letting you know all our thoughts are with you today – keep smiling” to another member having an MRI done that day. In addition, the community’s Birthday Ambassador keeps track of birthdays and sends special messages on celebrating the occasion.

If you haven’t done so already, take some time to check out My MSAA Community and find a new support network today.

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March 2018 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

All-New Artists for MSAA’s 2018-2017 Art Showcase!

As a part of MS Awareness Month, MSAA is very proud to present our 2018-2019 Art Showcase, celebrating the work of artists affected by MS.

We have received many wonderful submissions from across the country and are delighted to share their work and their stories with you.

To view all of the new submissions, please visit our online galleries:

MSAA Ability Art Showcase 2018
MSAA Four Seasons Art Showcase 2018
Throughout the year, we will highlight one artist during each month by sharing their artwork and their story as a part of our Artist of the Month series.

MSAA’s March Artist of the Month

Paula Breiner - Love Me, Don't Break Me
Love Me, Don’t Break Me
Paula Breiner – Tamaqua, PA
About the Artist:
“I am an MS Warrior. I make the most of each day. I enjoy yoga and meditation.I live day to day with this disease and pray for a cure. I do a paint/craft day each month with the gang in our support group. It has given me such happiness at seeing all the wonderful finished projects and see the smiles, laughter, and the awesome mental therapy that we all supply each other with. My support group has become my second family and we are so much stronger as a group. We live, one day at a time.”
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December 2017 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

MSAA is very proud to present our 2017-18 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).

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 new submissions.

Kimberly Stevens – Roanoke, VA
Christmas Stars
Kimberly Stevens - Christmas Stars

About the Artist:
“Diagnosed in January 2012 and no longer able to work, I became determined to find ways to keep busy based on my daily MS symptoms. MS requires flexibility.

Shaky hands and eye issues have made jewelry and glass working very difficult these days, and after going to a paint night party, I was inspired. I’ve enjoyed painting with stencils to create mixed media artwork and painting clay pottery for the past year.”
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November 2017 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

MSAA is very proud to present our 2017-18 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).

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 new submissions.

Laura Patchen – Pittsford, NY
Hurd Orchards
Laura Patchen - Hurd Orchards

About the Artist:
“I have been diagnosed with MS since 1998, and stopped working because of it in 2005. I began painting around 2010, looking for something to do that would make me feel like I had accomplished something. I enjoy painting immensely. It gives me joy and reminds me of places I’ve visited.

One of the wonderful things about painting is that when I become tired, I can put it aside and go back to it another day when I have more energy. I know that eventually, I will finish what I’ve started – it just might take me a little bit longer than I’d like.”
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October 2017 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

MSAA is very proud to present our 2017-18 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).

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 new submissions.

Karen Bloom – Kendallville, IN
Scarecrow in Cabbage Patch
Karen Bloom - Scarecrow in a Cabbage Patch

About the Artist:
“I was diagnosed with MS in 2008 and was a paraplegic within a year. Because my legs were affected so drastically, I expected the same of my arms/hands and sold my piano and gave away all of my oil painting supplies and most of the artwork I loved.

I received a service dog a year ago and began venturing back out into the world and taking risks, including trying painting again. It turns out I should not have given up on my artwork for over six years. My hands are still mine!”
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September 2017 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

MSAA is very proud to present our 2017-18 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).

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 new submissions.

Jennifer Attwood – Parker, CO
Bears
Jennifer Atwood - Bears

About the Artist:
“My life really took a turn sideways in 2007 diagnosis with MS!

I have written and illustrated a children’s book and I enjoy creatures of the ocean SO much that I have a saltwater aquarium now too. I love to illustrate and paint watercolors because it’s not expensive and gives me a free spirit of letting ALL the pain go too. I am still the girl who had a passion for horses, hiking and fishing, even though I can’t do those things anymore.”
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Creating Relationships with MS

By Laura Kolaczkowski 

When we talk about relationships it’s easy to immediately think of partners, children, and other family members and how our time with them is impacted by our multiple sclerosis.  The twitter hashtag #WeHaveMS rings true because having MS affects everyone in our close family circle.

Then there are other relationships that develop because of our disease – that would include the ongoing contact we have with our care team. Our neurologists, nurses, medical assistances, billing clerks, and everyone else in the MS clinic are people we become familiar with and dependent upon in more than a passing basis, and we develop a long-term relationship with them as well.

As important as our family and our providers are in establishing and maintaining healthy relationships, there is one group that holds more importance than these others – that would be the people who make up the MS community.  People living with MS understand what it’s like to live with this disease, the struggle to make peace with this disease, and how to celebrate and live a full life in spite of this disease.

The relationships I have within the MS community are some of the strongest and most important in helping me to live in a positive way, despite having MS.  I’m fortunate to have made friends, thanks to my MS, who are usually available at any time to stop what they are doing to take my phone call or answer an email.

Many of these friends I have never met in person, but we have that common bond of living with MS that cement our relationships.  More than once my family has looked at me as if I’ve forgotten all the warnings of “stranger danger” and the internet safety while I’ve forged new friendships and comfortable relationships with total strangers.

Being alone with a chronic disease, and particularly with MS, can be bad for us psychologically and often even our physical health can suffer. Creating relationships with others who also happen to live with MS gives us strength in many ways that can’t be measured but is felt deeply. If you don’t already have a special relationship with another person who has MS, I strongly encourage you to join a local support group, an online forum, or even one of the many Facebook groups that focus on multiple sclerosis. Lasting relationships might not develop quickly because those have to be tested over time, but stick with it and I have no doubt you will connect with people of kindred spirit.

*Laura Kolaczkowski was diagnosed with MS in 2008.  She is the co-principal investigator for iConquerMS and the lead patient representative. Her interests have taken her into the world of patient centered research, which is meant to deliver answers that are meaningful to the MS community. She is medically retired from the University of Dayton thanks to her MS, and lives with her husband in Ohio.  She invites you all to join iConquerMS and help solve the mystery of MS.

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January 2017 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

MSAA is very proud to present our 2016-17 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).

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 new submissions.

Marion Carney-Howard – Cleveland, OH
Winter Fun
Marion Carney - Winter Fun

About the Artist:
“I’m currently a house wife with three sons and three stepchildren for the past year since taken ill. I’m 48 years young and love art, music, dance as well swimming. I’m not a professional artist and sometimes surprise myself at my ability. I think I get my artistic flare from my dad who was a professional artist and photographer.

My art reflects my inner being. My submission is a memory I had of my sons playing outside with their friends and how much fun they were having. The medium I use is Paint Shop Pro and Polyvore as well acrylics and watercolor.”
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December 2016 Artist of the Month: Celebrating the Work of Artists Affected by Multiple Sclerosis

MSAA is very proud to present our 2016-17 Art Showcase – celebrating the work of artists affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).

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 new submissions.

Paula Breiner – Tamaqua, PA
Snowy
Snowy - Paula Breiner

About the Artist:
“I started painting last August to help strengthen my hand, to better my thinking and concentration. I haven’t drawn or painted since high school back in the 80’s. I find painting to be very relaxing and stress free, which is what an MS’er needs in their life.

I was diagnosed in 2006. My husband is my rock, I don’t know where I’d be without him. I belong to an amazing support group and we have all become family, I love and cherish each of them. We have 2 beautiful daughters and 4 amazing grandkids. I do lots of crafts with my grandkids and we all reap the rewards. I have MS, it doesn’t have me. One day at a time.”
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