• How to talk about MS after you’ve been diagnosed

    Diane sits quietly in the neurologist’s office collecting her thoughts. She’s just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It didn’t come as a surprise; she recognized many of the warning signs and has known for a few years that something was off. Fatigue and heat sensitivity had tipped her off, but seeing double is what brought her to her doctor to seek answers.


    And so began an endless series of tests, appointments and scans, which led her to this very moment: feeling oddly relieved to have an answer, even if the answer is MS.  As Diane leaves the hospital, her relief turns to fear: “What do I do now?” She runs through what she has to do next: learn more about this disease and decide whom to tell about her diagnosis. This was not going to be easy.

    Diane’s experience mirrors that of many people’s stories about being diagnosed: nobody wants to feel alone when they get the news. And as well intentioned as people are, sometimes you just need someone who understands what you’re going through.


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    19 October 2016



    Jesse and Pat met at work, the way so many adults do after they graduate. On their first date, Pat introduced Jesse to rock climbing. On their second, they saw Jesse’s favourite band and danced all night. On their third date, they wandered city streets with a thermos full of coffee, laughing about how awkward it would be if their coworkers found out about their relationship.

    Eight months later, Pat and Jesse moved into a beautiful two-bedroom apartment and got a cat.

    That same year, Jesse started to feel burnt out. The couple agreed to be more active and eat more greens. They’d read an article that said green vegetables would boost their energy. Pat felt great, but Jesse started to feel even worse. He could no longer handle even the easiest rock climbing wall because his left arm kept going numb.

    A few months later Jesse was diagnosed with MS.


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  • Tech development for MS symptom management: Denez Bokhari on Team TBS

    13 October 2016

    “Are you sure I can’t offer you tea?”

    Mrs. Bokhari, standing in the lobby of a high rise on the edge of Waterloo, ON, is mother to Denez (21), whom my colleague Stephanie and I do not want to make late for work. We assure her that we are well caffeinated and follow Denez to one of many University of Waterloo labs, where she spends most of her time as a biology student studying medicine.



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  • Why are people having so much trouble getting help?

    Today is trigeminal neuralgia awareness day – take a moment to educate yourself about the rare but exceptionally painful condition at http://tnac.org/tnac/ 

    By Jennifer Sweeney

    Photo by Elaine at Organic Acres and pulled from Jennifer's website: www.jennifersweeney.ca

    Photo by Elaine at Organic Acres and pulled from Jennifer’s website: www.jennifersweeney.ca


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  • Cause a commotion: Four things the Ontario government can do for MS

    6 October 2016



    Imagine for a moment that you could take days off for medical appointments – or because of a short relapse – without worrying about losing your job. That your loved ones could act as caregivers without worrying about what it means for their income. That you had access to government funded physiotherapy programs with trained MS specialists that could drastically improve your ability to walk. And that going out for dinner wasn’t limited to the few restaurants with fully accessible washrooms.

    You shouldn’t have to imagine what life would be like with access to these things – we believe that they should be the norm. Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis in the world. And when it comes to accessibility, we’ll stop at nothing to ensure that people living with MS and other chronic or episodic illnesses and disabilities are properly represented and included in the discussion.


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  • Face-to-face with Canada’s planned accessibility legislation

    5 October 2016

    Last May we asked Canadians affected by MS what independence means to them.  The resounding answer was that having the ability to work, to get around and to make informed choices about course of treatment are all essential to maintaining independence. The common thread here is accessibility.


    There are a lot of ways to advocate for better accessibility in Canada. Our federal government is currently developing new planned accessibility legislation to promote equality of opportunity and increase the inclusion and participation of Canadians with disabilities in our communities – and you can be part of this discussion.


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  • Spending time: My MS journey

    30 September 2016

    By François Marcotte


    When I was 20, my life was like the song Hier Encore by Charles Aznavour which, roughly translated means that I was spending time as though it was infinite. But time stopped one day in the summer of 1995. I was 22 years old when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

    In 2001, having more and more difficulty walking and moving my fingers, I had to drop out of my program at l’Université de Montréal, where I was finishing my master’s degree in urban planning. I went back to live with my mother who went into debt adapting her house so it would be accessible for me, and stepping up as a caregiver to me for the next 14 years. I often say that I owe her my life twice over. In 2015, I moved myself into a long term care facility in Quebec City saying, “Mom, you’ve sacrificed your retirement out of love for me. You’re 73 years old, you can rest now.”


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  • MS hits close to home for a doctor and soon-to-be

    16 September 2016


    Interview with Kate and Sam

    I recently sat down with two of our #MSBike ambassadors, who happen to both be affected by multiple sclerosis and are involved in the medical field. They talk about their experience with medicine, their take on MS research, and being a part of the MS community. Sam called us right after his last class of the day let out at medical school at the Université de Montréal, and Kate caught up with us between making dinner for her family and running off to a shift at her office where she works as a family physician. Here’s what they shared with each other.

    How has your connection to MS affected your life?

    Kate: Being diagnosed with MS has really forced me to reevaluate what’s important in my life. It’s been tough for me to slow down and focus on my family and friends, as well as the areas of work that are most important to me. I think most of us in medicine are type A personality – I’m really bad for saying I can do 1,000 things like covering another shift or learning session, but then it backfires. I used to be able to juggle these requests, but I can’t anymore and it’s made me realize that I need to slow down. I used to work full time, but now I’ve cut back to three days a week.

    Sam: I don’t have MS, but a little over 12 years ago, my uncle who happens to be my godfather was diagnosed. For a long time, it didn’t affect me because he was doing quite well. As the years went by, his MS hit him a lot harder and he had to leave a job that he loved as a result. That’s when I saw the disease really affect him and decided to do something about it. His diagnosis moulded me into an advocate for MS in my daily routine.


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  • How mayors’ committees and volunteer hours can lead to making a difference in MS research

    7 September 2016

    This summer was a memorable one for MS research. In June, we saw the results of the Canadian Bone Marrow Transplantation trial, which allowed Jennifer Molson go from a mobility device to dancing at her wedding. Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie was appointed to the newly established research chair at the University of Manitoba with a special focus on MS.  And researchers at UBC pinned down a molecule that permits the entry of harmful immune cells into the spinal cord in MS-like disease, bringing us closer to understanding the underlying mechanism of episodic illnesses.

    Jeannelle and Lauren, recipients of the 2016 John Helou scholarship

    Funding the next generation of MS researchers is how we will find the breakthroughs of tomorrow, and that’s what the John Helou Scholarship (made possible through the generous support of Pfizer Canada Inc. and Innovative Medicines Canada) is all about. Thanks to this scholarship, two bright young women will be supported as they pursue education that will allow them to contribute to MS research. From Red Deer, Alberta, Jeannelle Bouvette was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS less than a year ago, and from Georgetown, Ontario, Lauren Smith is a young woman whose mother was diagnosed before she was born.


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  • “Multiple sclerosis changed our families. Now we’re going to end MS.”

    6 September 2016

    Nearly 100,000 Canadians live with MS, but it also affects the children of those who live with the disease. A generation of young people are determined to change this, including Lucas Nystrom, who lost his stepfather last October due to complications related to primary-progressive MS; Nicholas Addesso, whose mother has lived with MS his entire life; and Matthew Lee, whose mother was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) when he was just two years old.

    Follow the leader scholarship recipients 2016

    Named the 2016 winners of the Follow the Leader Scholarship (made available due to the generous support of the KRG Children’s Charitable Foundation), these three are following in the footsteps of Allie Sherwin – determined to play a role in ending MS.


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