World MS Day: What Makes you Stronger than MS?

On Wednesday, May 27, the global multiple sclerosis community will come together to celebrate World MS Day and shine a spotlight on work being done around the world to break down barriers and improve the lives of those living with MS.

This year’s theme is access: one of the ongoing goals of World MS Day is to encourage countries to improve access for those living with MS to all opportunities and resources. From access to employment and healthcare services, to buildings and public spaces, access means different things to different people. To recognize this important day, we asked our Living Like You bloggers about the significance World MS Day holds for them.

What does World MS Day mean to you?

World MS Day means all countries uniting together for one day to create awareness about MS. It shows the support that is available to both people with MS and their friends and family. – Karen O’Shea

Everyone has a DAY. Some have their birthdays, their kid’s birthdays, a religious day; some DAY that makes them happy. When you have multiple sclerosis, every DAY you have MS, but there’s something solitary about it. You feel a smidge alone. World MS Day means “Bring it on!” because there’s strength in numbers.– Jamie Tripp Utitus

A chance to ramp up advocating activities even more by raising awareness on streets and in towns, interacting with people to “teach” them in a way. – Willeke Van Eeckhoutte

What is your country doing to improve access for people with MS? What do you wish would improve?

More access to good information about MS, more information about clinical trials, more barrier-free buildings for everyone, not only MS-ers. More jobs for MS patients, better and more transparent communication between the German government and those living with MS. – Birgit Bauer

Ireland is not doing enough but no other country is doing enough either. Change is happening but slowly and it’s not all about money. Mindsets have to change and that is long term project. Neurological services and treatment availability should be improved first. – Declan Groeger

Where I live I have access to quality treatment at, relatively speaking, lightning speeds. This has been pivotal in making me who I am today. I advocate for the sick because I am blessed to have access to what many people do not—quality treatment provided quickly. Just because of where I was born? That bothers me! So the theme of ACCESS makes me thrilled that others see the inequality of care as well and that others are working on it with me. – Jamie Tripp Utitus

Who is one person with MS who inspires you and why?

The person with MS that inspires me the most is Willeke Van Eeckhoutte. She is one of the bloggers for LLY. She inspires me because she is one of the most courageous people I have ever met. She battles every day to be the best she can be. If ever I am feeling a bit down, she picks me back up and sets me on the right path. She is my MS buddy and I firmly believe my life is better having met her. – Karen O’Shea

Malu Dreyer, Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, a German State. She has MS and is a powerful woman. – Birgit Bauer

It is difficult naming just one person, as the people with MS I know each live with their own set of challenges, and they inspire me every day. They are all champions in their own right because they rise above their limitations no matter what happens. – Willeke Van Eckhoutte

The hashtag for World MS Day this year is #StrongerthanMS. What makes you stronger than MS?

The love and support of my family and friends make me stronger than MS. Every day they remind me that I can live life to the fullest, that I am still a partner, a mother, a daughter, a sister and a friend. This gives me the strength every day to jump out of bed and face the world head on. – Karen O’Shea

My Life. Because I love my Life. It’s great even though I have MS. And my husband and his love for me. – Birgit Bauer

Knowing that I have a supportive family, especially my mum who is a real trooper, and the backing of my friends. To me it’s all about carpe diem, about loving life more than I love my MS. – Willeke Van Eckhoutte

I am stronger than MS because of my strong mental attitude. I give MS the ‘rigid digit’ salute every chance I get. – Declan Groeger

Well MS came into my life and I had one of two choices, fight back or give up. I changed my lifestyle, walked away from a high paying job, learned to live off next to nothing, wrote a book and became a writer and an author. I’d say I’m kicking some arse all things considered. – Jamie Tripp Utitus

My positive attitude makes me stronger than MS. I don’t believe that life needs to change too much. It’s important to continue doing the things you love, and often, being faced with an uncertain future comes with huge inspiration to do all the things you have been putting off, or were too scared to do before that. So I do believe that a positive outlook and attitude is key to living a fulfilling life. – Aoife Kirwan

We’d love to hear what World MS Day means to you. Share with us on Facebook.

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