SARASOTA, Fla., March 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Friends, family, healthcare teams and others provide invaluable assistance for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic condition affecting the central nervous system. Four MS patient organizations — MSWorld, MS Views and News, Can Do MS and MS Focus: the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation — have joined biotechnology company Biogen to recognize these MS support partners through the #MySupportHero initiative. During MS Awareness Month, there are a variety of ways on social media to celebrate those who provide ongoing support, care and inspiration for people living with the disease.
MS can cause a range of symptoms including fatigue, pain and cognitive difficulties, such as loss of short-term memory.1 MS poses unique challenges because a person's condition can be unpredictable, potentially changing from day to day.2 Encouragement and emotional support from others goes a long way for those affected by MS.
"I was diagnosed with MS eight years ago, and my wife has been my pillar of strength through it all," said Dan Melfi, a retired airport director of operations who has participated in Can Do MS programs. "She is my protector and hero, keeping me positive and always thinking about my needs. #MySupportHero allows us to show our loved ones gratitude for all that they do — no matter how big or small."
#MySupportHero builds on last year's initiative with new ways to recognize support partners — here's how to get involved and show appreciation during March:
- Post on social media using the #MySupportHero hashtag
- Follow Biogen on Twitter or Facebook, and share posts that contain a virtual #MySupportHero flower
- Share Facebook and Twitter posts from MSWorld, MS Views and News, MS Focus and Can Do MS that contain the virtual #MySupportHero flower
- Change your social media profile picture to the #MySupportHero flower; visit one of the four MS patient organizations' sites or Biogen's AboveMS.com site to download the image
- Go to MSWorld.org to send a personalized email message or request a #MySupportHero postcard
"I believe in the power of community to support people living with MS to gain confidence and motivation to overcome the daily challenges," said Kathleen Wilson, founding president and CEO of MSWorld. "Last year's #MySupportHero reached thousands of people who honored their support partners. Showing gratitude for our heroes empowers all of us to keep moving forward. This March, we want to extend #MySupportHero to foster a stronger sense of community, and inspire people to thank their support heroes in their day-to-day lives while growing a virtual field of #MySupportHero flowers online."
"Love is the foundation that builds our community. #MySupportHero is an inspired way to share that love," added Wilson.
"Working together with MS patient organizations, we are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people affected by MS," said Mike Krzan, vice president, Patient Services at Biogen. "Through #MySupportHero, we're proud to recognize the invaluable role of support partners, and build on our commitment to positively impact the community with comprehensive MS support and programs."
Visit AboveMS.com to learn more about #MySupportHero, as well as receive tips from those living with MS and other expert contributors. Additional #MySupportHero information is available on www.msworld.org, www.msfocus.org, www.mscando.org and www.msviewsandnews.org.
About Multiple Sclerosis
MS affects the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Symptoms may be mild or severe, ranging from numbness in the limbs to paralysis or loss of vision. It is estimated that about 400,000 people in the United States and more than 2.3 million people worldwide have MS.
Founded in 1996 by Kathleen Wilson, Founding President and CEO, MSWorld has grown from 6 people in a chat room to the largest all-patient-run MS organization worldwide, serving well over 160,000 members living with MS. MSWorld provides online support and information to people living with MS, including the official chat and message boards of the National MS Society, and various MSWorld Centers, such as Resource, Conference, Wellness, and Creative Centers along with social networking connections. From the beginning, Kathleen Wilson has stated, "The primary mission of MSWorld is to end the isolation that people experience when diagnosed with MS. We believe that knowledge is power and peer support is invaluable." Visit MSWorld.org or call 877-MS-SUPPORT (877-677-8776) to learn more.
About MS Views and News
MS Views and News provides education, advocacy and services to empower and enhance the quality of life for the MS community. The organization is dedicated to providing MS information to all people affected by MS, including patients, caregivers and medical providers. For more information, go to www.msviewsandnews.org.
About MS Focus
The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, known in the MS community as MS Focus, is a nonprofit organization focused on providing free services that address the critical needs of people with MS and their families, helping them maintain the best quality of life. Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the organization serves the estimated 400,000 individuals with MS in the United States and Puerto Rico with programs designed to improve or maintain health, well-being, independence, and safety. To learn more, visit www.msfocus.org.
About Can Do MS
A national nonprofit organization based in Avon, Colo., Can Do MS delivers health and wellness education programs for families with MS. Programs focus on exercise, nutrition, symptom management, and motivation to thrive in life. For more information, visit the organization's website at mscando.org or call 800-367-3101.
Through cutting-edge science and medicine, Biogen discovers, develops and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. Founded in 1978, Biogen is a pioneer in biotechnology and today the Company has the leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis, has introduced the first and only approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, and is at the forefront of neurology research for conditions including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Building on its heritage in biologics, Biogen also manufactures and commercializes high-quality biosimilars. For more information, please visit www.biogen.com. Follow us on social media – Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube.
1 MS Focus, "Symptoms of MS." https://msfocus.org/Get-Educated/Symptoms-of-MS. Accessed: March 1, 2017.
2 MS Focus, "Common Questions." https://msfocus.org/Get-Educated/Common-Questions. Accessed: March 1, 2017.
Jennifer Pizutto, director of media relations