(RxWiki News) Today is World MS Day – a day to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis (MS) and the impact it has on patients' lives.
MS is most commonly diagnosed during young adulthood, a time when people are finding their way in the world. Being diagnosed with MS at this point in life can turn a young person's world upside down, but it doesn't mean patients should give up.
For this year's World MS Day, the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation and other organizations are introducing six young patients from around the world who are sharing how they have adjusted to the challenges of living with MS.
The campaign's goal is to create awareness and inspire others to share their stories about life with MS.
"Find a support group to share your experiences with MS."
MS affects more than two million people worldwide. The cause of the disease is unknown, but research has shown that genetics, problems with the immune system and environmental factors may all play an important role.
MS is a disease in which the mistakenly attacks the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. This immune attack damages myeline (the protective layer surrounding nerve fibers) and may damage the nerves as well. This myeline and nerve damage disrupts nerve signals to and from the brain and spinal cord, leading to a variety of symptoms.
Patients may experience fatigue, numbness, memory and thinking problems, pain and problems with walking, balance and coordination among many other symptoms.
Over time, MS may lead to severe disability.
This year's World MS Day campaign is asking, "What's your motto?"
"We all have mottos that we live our lives by," says the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. "[The 'What's your motto?' campaign] aims to inspire us all with personal mottos related to overcoming obstacles and dealing with the adversity posed by MS.
"The campaign will create awareness about MS through six 'young voices' who will inspire others to share their own mottos with the world, highlighting common themes, shared concerns, fears and challenges, and the shared inspiration for overcoming them."
These six young voices include 21-year-old Brenda from Argentina, 18-year-old Praneel from India, 26-year-old Anna from Russia, 23-year-old Diogo from Portugal, 19-year-old Breea from the United States and 28-year-old Khaoula from Tunisia.
These young MS patients are sharing their mottos, and the stories behind these mottos, to raise awareness and show other patients they are not alone.
The mottos cover topics such as identity, relationships and the future.
For example, Anna says, "Surround yourself with love," and Praneel says, "Support from my loved ones gives me the strength to fight MS."
Brea says, "Stay positive, be strong, and focus on your dreams." And Khaoula reminds us, "There is a rainbow at the end of even the darkest day."
Throughout this past month, these young patients have shown their mottos on World MS Day website. Today, their stories have been added to that website.
To learn more about MS, visit worldmsday.org.