MS Awareness Day 2010

Help further Ohio’s fight against MS

By LIZ THOMPSON, DAY BY DAY
Published: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 9:31 AM EDT
Suburban News Publications
Too many tumbles, sore muscles, bruises, scrapes and broken bones. All this happens to me and I never dreamt of being in the Olympics.

I’ve never been graceful, even as a girl, but active; always walking, hiking, biking, skating, swimming, camping or anything outdoors.

Since multiple sclerosis came fully into my life in 1987, most of those activities are in the past. Yes, I can walk; but using a cane, walker, or the aid of a friend’s arm. In the last three weeks, I have fallen — twice forward and once backward. Did I trip? Maybe. It all happens so fast that the cause is no longer an issue; the question is, can I get back up without major injury?

It has to stop. Next time I might not get up.

MS has a way of stopping people from moving. But I refuse to let it keep me from living. As an ambassador for the Ohio Buckeye Chapter of the National MS Society, I encourage others with MS to keep moving — safely. I better start living my advice before I have to eat my words.

March is MS Awareness Month in Ohio. Today, March 24 is MS Advocacy Day, and I will join other volunteers representing the Ohio Buckeye Chapter at the Riffe Center where we will talk with our legislators. We want them to see the face of MS and learn how it affects the 20,000-plus people in Ohio. Children as young as 3 are being diagnosed with MS.

We will ask Ohio legislators not to dissolve the Medicaid Buy In for Workers with Disability Advisory Board. There are more than 3,000 Ohioans in the program and the work has just begun. This board is 100 percent voluntary and costs the state zero dollars. People with MS need this voice.

Imagine you are in a nursing home where you may need therapy, medical transportation, oxygen, over-the-counter medicine, a wheelchair or repairs. These are ancillary services Medicaid once paid for. With a law passed in 2009, the nursing home has to absorb these costs.

Government thinks it will force nursing homes to cut costs. This law did not change nursing home residents’ rights to these services.

Facts tell us Ohio has a high prevalence rate of MS. The National MS Society funds more than $8.7 million in critical MS research at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Ohio State University. Since the MS Society was founded in 1946, it has spent more than $700 million on MS-related research projects.

Since 1993, four disease modifying treatments are in use as a result of this research. We have more potential therapies in the pipeline than at any other time in history.

I have been blessed in meeting and getting to know many of the behind-the-scenes people in our Ohio Chapter and the national office. Everyone I have the pleasure to know is on a mission to end MS, to the point their jobs will become obsolete. I firmly believe this is their goal.

Thank you Tony, Holly, April, Matt, Guyla, Kincaid, Ana, Jennifer, Wendy, David, Greg, Janet, Nancy, Joyce, Renee and everyone for helping us fight the battle.

You can help by sponsoring one of the fundraising events. For more information, call 1-800-344-4867 or visit MSohiobuckeye.org.

Liz Thompson is a former SNP reporter and Grove City resident. She can be reached at LizT@columbus.rr.com.

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