Wednesday, February 29, 2012

deafening silence of Multiple Sclerosis awareness

Unless we stumble over it, we literally and figuratively see what is in front of us.

Most people might never see Multiple Sclerosis because the general population has <1% chance of having MS.

Additionally, of those diagnosed with MS the majority may have symptoms “invisible” to strangers.

Prevalence invites awareness and MS remains rare especially contrasted to cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke, or diabetes. Can the sound of one voice in 700 (the statistical incidence of MS) hope to be more than a silent scream?

Soooo, am I the only one noticing that Multiple Sclerosis prevalence is totally out of statistical whack when viewed in the context of our current US Presidential Primaries.

Ann Romney, wife of Mitt Romney, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1998.

Marianne Gingrich, former wife of Newt Gingrich, reports Newt asked for divorce just months after she had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

And on the other side …

US First Lady Michelle Obama was raised living with Multiple Sclerosis, her father had MS.

This is an extraordinary and exceptional alignment of MS awareness, yet do you hear it?  

27 years ago I, like most, had never seen or even heard of MS. My awareness began when I saw Patti’s tears and heard her sobbing, “the call”. “…The caller explained Patti was crying uncontrollably and could I come get her. … Upon arriving I found Patti still crying alone in an examination room. Her neurologist appeared and explained he had told her that “she probably has Multiple Sclerosis…”

Like comets that travel through once in a lifetime perhaps never again will Multiple Sclerosis be a part of the lives of so many major players on our public stage.

In the USA, the Month of March is designated for Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness. Open your eyes and ears.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society MS Awareness Week 2012

Multiple Sclerosis Foundation MS Awareness Month 2012

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America

* * * * * * * * * UPDATED

Following death of former “Monkees” star Davy Jones of a heart attack on Feb 29, The Hollywood Reporter reports Jones' family is asking for donations to be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society or a local chapter. Jones' niece died from complications stemming from multiple sclerosis 17 years ago.

Maybe the silence isn't so deafening after all. 

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer 


  1. Nicely written! I work at the Rocky Mountain MS Center, in CO. I'm going to tweet this story as part of my MS Awareness outreach, if you don't mind. You can learn more about us at

    1. Thanks Juanita! We are familiar with Rocky Mountain MS Center and glad you plugged it. I checked you site for a March MS Awareness link but found none or I would have included you all in the entry. Thanks for all you do.

      Caregivingly Yours, Patrick

  2. Nail on the head, Patrick! Indeed, I have been surprised how non-existent MS has been in story lines related to the Presidential race. I think the biggest shock to me came after President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize and it was announced that he was going to give his $1.4 million in prize money to 10 different charities, none of them were MS-related organizations. Missed opportunity, I guess. So, then, let this be our charge to go out and make some noise of our own! And kudos to you for not needing a week or a month to increase MS awareness! You do it every day, my friend!

    1. Thanks Dan, it is eerie! and much like how President Obama chose to spend his Nobel Price money, First Lady Michelle has embraced childhood obesity as her cause to champion. Nothing wrong at all with the charities and causes they have embraced, you would just think Multiple Sclerosis could get a little 'shout out' once in a while from the White House.

      Caregivingly Yours, Patrick

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