In the state of Alaska there are at least two ways for people with MS to receive support and assistance. It might be the same in your area and you can find out if you do the research. I would appreciate if you’d tell us about your community resources in the comments below!
Stephanie Tinney, a licensed Occupational Therapist (OT) in the state of Alaska is a volunteer on the Alaska Leadership Board of the National MS Society for which she is the liaison for the Walk MS events in the state.
Stephanie also volunteers her time to facilitate the MS support group here in the Alaska Mat-Su Valley.
The National MS Society gives her petty cash to facilitate the support group Monthly Meetings. We have a monthly meeting on the west side of the valley in Wasilla and one on the east side in Palmer.
When I first joined the support group, Stephanie took me under her wing and helped me embrace my new reality of life with MS.
Stephanie explained to me that The Alaska MS Center, the state organization for MS, subsidizes fun activities, like Art class, healing yoga, swimming and Therapeutic Horseback Riding. They also plan other events for our enjoyment right in their office. The center fund raises to provide these events.
As a group we have become such good friends that we continue to do other activities that we pay for ourselves like movies and Saturday brunch.
On the Alaska MS Center’s website you’ll see that they have established an environment to build a place that meets the needs of the Alaskan MS community by providing educational resources, support and regular programs created to improve one’s quality of life.
By providing services above and beyond the direct medical needs of an individual, they compliment the efforts of the Alaska Medical Community and work side by side with the Greater Northwest Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to provide the best resources available for each individual.
One of their main priorities at the center is to continuously offer fun and healthy programs that add to the quality of life to those living with MS. They are constantly developing new and exciting classes and events that further this goal. Last year at one of the events I was able to ride a Segway ~ what a crack up! Watching the video is embarrassing! As I watch it again, I can’t believe it looks like I’m barely moving and it honestly felt like I was on a roller coaster! Just like I titled the video, “MS bodies, easy to thrill!”
Financial assistance is available for all of these programs and much more through the Greater Northwest Chapter of the NMSS. Where ever you live, call an MS Navigator at 1-800 Fight MS (1-800-344-48671-800-344-4867) during their business hours of M-F 7:00am – 5:00pm MST and ask them what’s available for you.
If you don’t have a local chapter of the National MS society you can do as my partner, Trish Robichaud did and organize one on your own! She spearheaded the founding of the Northern York Region Canadian Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada!