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It's Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

Magnolia couple says MS 'is not a death sentence'

March is recognized as MS Awareness Month through the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America.
For more than 20 years, Neil and Sharon Dohlmann of Magnolia have provided a face to MS and support for those living with MS.
During MS Awareness Month, they want individuals to know that a diagnosis of MS is not a “death sentence.”
While MS is an unpredictable, often debilitating disease of the central nervous system, people can live a lifetime with it.
The disease’s disruptions in the brain and in communications between the brain and body affect people differently. MS symptoms range from numbness and tingling, to walking difficulties, fatigue, dizziness, pain, depression, blindness and paralysis.
The progress, severity and specific symptoms in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving the world closer to be free of MS.
Neil Dohlmann is one of more than 400,000 Americans living with the disease and has done so for 23 years.
Each month the Dohlmanns shared their experiences with MS at a monthly support group. Deb Fuerstenberg is another facilitator at the meetings.
The group meets at 7:30 p.m. the third Thursday of the month at the Family Services Building on Blue Mound Avenue. Anyone is welcome to attend.
To the newly diagnosed, the local MS support group provides a shoulder to lean on.
This week the National Multiple Sclerosis Society kicked off its new awareness campaign and will engage people across the country to raise awareness and share experiences and solutions to live their best lives.
The society encourages individuals to register for a Walk MS event. The event brings a community together to be inspired and raise critical funds for research and services.
NMSS also encourages individuals to inspire and be inspired on social media. View and share images, videos and stories as solutions are discovered to overcome the challenges of MS.
In just two decades MS has moved from being an untreatable disease to one where there are more multiple disease-modifying therapy options for those with relapsing MS, the more common form of the disease.
Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men diagnosed with the disease.
While the Internet can provide some information about living with MS, it cannot replace the face-to-face conversations provided locally by those currently affected by the disease.
Our community is fortunate to have others in which to rely.

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