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    Old Ironsides Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Support Group kickoff

    Old Ironsides Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Support Group kickoff

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Jessica Littlejohn | The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), in partnership with the Fort Bliss...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Jessica Littlejohn 

    24th Theater Public Affairs Support Element

    The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), in partnership with the Fort Bliss Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), are scheduled to host a multiple sclerosis informational workshop Oct. 2 at the Army Community Service building on Fort Bliss, Texas, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. to kick start an Old Ironsides Multiple Sclerosis Support Group for veterans, service members, family members and friends.

    The free workshop will provide participants with information about the history of MS and how it impacts those living with the disease, including “A Day in the Life,” which involves hands-on exercises simulating difficulties with activities of daily living, said Beth A. Ellis, EFMP manager.

    According to the NMSS website, symptoms of MS include vision problems, walking difficulties, spasticity and chronic pain. Participants of the workshop will have the opportunity to try out the 'MS experience kit' and feel what MS victims are going through, said Andres Salgado, NMSS connections coordinator.

    “You give them gloves and have them try to button a shirt,” said Kellie J. Crist, MS support group leader. “That’s why it takes your husband 45 minutes to get ready, because he can’t button his shirt.”

    This workshop will be followed up with monthly support group meetings, with the first meeting scheduled for Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. in the ACS building on Fort Bliss. With the lack of support groups in the El Paso area, the main goal of NMSS and EFMP is to raise awareness about MS and identify gaps in services for those living with MS in El Paso right now, said Salgado.

    “We’re hoping that this education workshop stirs up interest to get people to be aware that the MS (support) society exists here, because it didn’t for a long time,” said Christina M. Whitaker, EFMP systems navigator and case manager.

    Families have approached EFMP about support groups, and unfortunately, they were only able to refer them to online support, Whitaker added.

    “(Some) families don’t engage that way, they need that personal interaction and benefit of peer-to-peer direct support groups,” said Whitaker. “We are hoping that the information workshop really stirs up interest, brings awareness to the issues and condition, and the available support that will be provided through the support group and Kellie’s fantastic facilitation of it.”

    Crist, the MS support group leader was diagnosed with MS 15 years ago, and one of the main goals of the support group is to gain information about neurologists in the El Paso areas from others living with the disease.

    “I was surprised by the lack of neurologists out here,” said Crist. “It’s a good resource to ask other people, ‘Who do you see?’ so you can get that inside connection.”

    With this support group, the NMSS and EFMP wants to empower group members and provide a chance to connect with others in the community, said Ellis

    “EFMP is super excited about the partnership that we are building with the MS society because we know that community agencies are integral to helping military families meet their needs,” said Whitaker. “We are excited about the future, and hopefully, our families will be just as excited as we are.”



    Date Taken: 09.11.2015
    Date Posted: 09.14.2015 13:16
    Story ID: 175982
    Location: EL PASO, TX, US 

    Web Views: 286
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