If you have been recently diagnosed , or know someone who has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, or if you've dealt with MS alone, please contact us. Our meetings are low key, but fun. We don't preach at you but we do share information on medications, therapies, medical equipment and mobility devices. Our purpose is to share common life experiences.
THERE IS STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
(FAITH IS OUR PATHWAY, INC., AN AFR. AMERICAN MS SUPPORT ORG. JOINS MS WALK)
It is a strong organization, started by a woman. It is a viable organization addressing the needs and daily concerns of its members. An organization comprised of a Marine Broker, an Ad Exec., three Teachers, Transit and Postal Workers, hard working parents with small children, single mothers and fathers leading families, grandmothers and grand fathers. An extraordinary Board, numerous friends and family. We are myriad and many. There is strength in those numbers.
We are Faith is our Pathway, Inc. (FIOP) and we strive to offer assistance and direction, comfort in distress and support and understanding to those afflicted with this disease. MS is incurable and attacks the central nervous system and interferes with the brains ability to send and receive messages. When lesions form on the brain (which can be due to various reasons from living with too much stress – which is a deal breaker - or just the disease advancement) it directly affects the corresponding part of the body on which the lesions lie. Left side of brain will affect the right side issues like gait. Conversely, the right side affects the left side of body. Lesions also grow on the spine which pose a great threat in that the patient loses mobility ability. Most people with MS have to deal primarily with pain although some do not.
The issues that these members face on a daily basis living with MS range from confirming every destination is wheelchair accessible to chasing down affordable medication. On a daily basis for those with the MS that you can’t see (being pain issues) have to deal with getting stopped by police for parking in disabled spaces because the disability is not apparent – especially at malls. On a daily basis to get out of bed is a triumph, but does not always happen and that is where having the ability to call someone who understands is a powerful thing. No one is alone in this group. FIOP chooses to put member’s needs as goal. MS is glue the binds each to the other. To share their stories, issues and problems is to educate not to complain. To educate is uppermost in the advocacy mind of this organization and one reason is because of the rise in incidence of those getting MS – in three years FIOP has grown from ten to 27 current enrollees or 36 if you include the Board and friends.
What’s at issue too is the fact that African Americans have only recently (last ten years) been included in any trials for drugs which help to keep MS from advancing quickly. While African Americans are now included in trials, the drugs on the market with a proven track record were formulated without their inclusion. Also diagnosis has been hard, urban legend has it that in the ‘Ol South they used to call MS “shingles.” It is still hard to diagnose MS as so many other issues need ruling out and while that’s happening the MS marches on. Even when diagnosed to get documentation confirming the disability to the various entities that make up the Social Security Administration is hard at best because most times work is no longer an option. But that is why Faith is our Pathway, Inc. exists to help make the journey easier with either information, or direction. There is great support in their numbers.
FIOP is an organization whose direction is in helping each other to remain independent as possible. This is done through presentations held in the communities in which they live given by Pharmaceutical companies, doctors and Holistic healers - each presenting information to help the diagnosed and newly diagnosed manage living with MS. Fundraisers are held often to raise money and attention. MS Month is an opportunity for the group help with the another imperative – finding a cure. The MS Walk is on April 10th and Faith is our Pathway, Inc. will be at the starting line at 10 AM walking for the cure. There is much concern that in the African American community the disease is on the rise (as the membership increase can attest) and is in full attack mode. The only way to eradicate this problem is to find a cure, a cure will be found with research which needs funding which is reason for the Walk. This is the third year of the groups’ existence and they will be there whether in wheelchairs, with walkers or holding on to friends and families but in great numbers as there is strength in those numbers.
We’d like to thank our families and all our friends for their continued support and look forward to seeing each that’s pledge time right alongside us at the finish line on April 10, 2011.
Contributed By: Rhonda Daughtry, Secretary - Faith is our Pathway, diagnosed with MS in 2006.
4/1/2011 6:15 PM