A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) comes with unanswered questions. Your medical team can provide expert advice on halting disease progression and available treatment options, but may not have the time to talk through what this diagnosis will mean for you and your family and where you can access the supports you need.
Enter the MS Knowledge Network, the MS Society’s hub of information for people affected by MS. The Knowledge Network bridges the gap often experienced when looking for support to manage the effect an MS diagnosis can have on your life and those around you. Staffed by trained MS Navigators and available in both official languages, the Knowledge Network provides access to consistent, reliable information and supports needed to navigate life with MS.
Meet Patty Milnthorp, based in Saskatchewan. We sat down with Patty to talk about her experiences supporting the MS community through her work as an MS Navigator.
How long have you been a part of the MS Knowledge Network as an MS Navigator?
I am honoured to say I have been part of this team for over two years now.
What would you say are the top three reasons people turn to the Knowledge Network for support?
I speak to many MS community members that are newly diagnosed and seeking information about MS. I also receive many calls from individuals looking for information on the different treatment options and available disease-modifying therapies. Recently, I have fielded quite a few calls from people interested in applying for funding through our Quality of Life Program.
MS Navigators make many meaningful connections while providing support, but is there a specific instance of helping an MS community member through the Knowledge Network that stays with you?
I believe every connection we make to a person affected by multiple sclerosis is meaningful. It’s hard to pick just one, but I think the ones that are near and dear to my heart are the people who are newly diagnosed and feel frightened and alone. I am grateful that I can reassure them and provide them with information to help them on their journey with MS. By the time we say goodbye, they are hopeful and often feel much better about their future.
What does being an MS Navigator mean to you?
I am happy that we [MS Navigators] can assist so many people every day in so many different ways. We may have someone call us that is overwhelmed with emotion and in tears at the start of the call. As MS Navigators, we walk people affected by MS through resources and supports to help relieve their stress and uncertainties, especially on their darkest days. To me, being an MS Navigator is my dream job. When I was applying, my oldest daughter read the job description and said, “Mom it’s like they designed this job around you.”
If you could tell the MS community one thing about the Knowledge Network, what would that be?
CALL US!! We are here to help you!
It takes a village to manage a disease like multiple sclerosis, and our MS Navigators are a dependable and informed group of individuals who are part of that village – supporting Canadians through their MS journeys every day. Whether you or your loved one is newly diagnosed, or you are looking for more information on the latest MS treatment, our team of MS Navigators are here for you.
Click here for more information on how to connect with an MS Navigator.