Wednesday, February 29, 2012

deafening silence of Multiple Sclerosis awareness

Unless we stumble over it, we literally and figuratively see whatis in front of us.

Most people might never see Multiple Sclerosis because the generalpopulation has <1% chance of having MS.

Additionally, of those diagnosed with MS the majority may havesymptoms “invisible” to strangers.

Prevalence invites awareness and MS remains rare especiallycontrasted to cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, or diabetes. Can thesound of one voice in 700 (the statistical incidence of MS) hope to be morethan a silent scream?

Soooo, am I the only one noticing that Multiple Sclerosisprevalence is totally out of statistical whack when viewed in the context ofour current US Presidential Primaries.

Ann Romney, wife of MittRomney, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1998.

Marianne Gingrich, formerwife of Newt Gingrich, reports Newt asked for divorce just months after she hadbeen diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

And on the other side …

US First Lady Michelle Obamawas raised living with Multiple Sclerosis, her father had MS.

This is an extraordinary andexceptional alignment of MS awareness, yet do you hear it?  

27 years ago I, like most, had never seen or even heard of MS. Myawareness began when I saw Patti’s tears and heard her sobbing, “the call”. “…Thecaller explained Patti was crying uncontrollably and could I come get her. … Uponarriving I found Patti still crying alone in an examination room. Herneurologist appeared and explained he had told her that “she probably hasMultiple Sclerosis…”

Like comets that travel through once in a lifetime perhaps neveragain will Multiple Sclerosis be a part of the lives of so many major playerson our public stage.

In the USA, the Month of March is designated for Multiple SclerosisEducation and Awareness. Open your eyes and ears.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society MS Awareness Week 2012

Multiple Sclerosis Foundation MS Awareness Month 2012

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America

* * * * * * * * * UPDATED

Following death of former “Monkees” star Davy Jones of a heartattack on Feb 29, The Hollywood Reporter reports Jones' family is asking for donations tobe made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society or a local chapter. Jones'niece died from complications stemming from multiple sclerosis 17 years ago.

Maybe the silence isn't so deafening after all. 

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer