Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) can be challenging and isolating at the best of times. Connecting with others for support can make all the difference.
With the COVID-19 pandemic redefining life for all Canadians, people living with chronic diseases like MS are finding themselves cut off from their communities and looking for new ways to engage with support networks. Fortunately, we’re living in an era of digital innovation. New digital tools are allowing Canadians with MS to stay connected, supported, and informed from the safety and comfort of home. By associating with others who share their experience, people with MS can find comfort and knowledge while forging new connections with others.
Living with MS can be unpredictable, but companions make it easier
Curatio app user Alex Da Silva relates some of the obstacles that come with adapting to an MS diagnosis: “My MS journey has been a long one, starting way back in 2016 and leading to where I am today,” he says. “I appreciated and was grateful for the help I got from family members, but ultimately there’s a lot that was up to me.”
Beverly Sudbury, similarly, has seen her life change dramatically. “After three months of doctors of all kinds, CAT scans and MRIs, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS,” she recalls. “I came out the other side with a determination to not let this diagnosis stop me from what I wanted to do, and to do what I could to help others through their journeys with MS.”
What both Alex and Beverly have learned is that these hardships become much lighter when shared, and that technology provides a new way to share their challenges, and to learn from others who have overcome them.
Learning new ways to be together
For Beverly, Alex, and the roughly 77,000 other Canadians living with MS, digital tools are helping to sustain their engagement with others in the face of an isolating disease. Digitally and privately, peers in an online community empower each other, share tips and advice to help each other to self-manage, and help guide each other to understand the latest research and treatment approaches.
A critical enabler of this transition has been a new wave of Canadian MS-focused social apps such as Curatio, a revolutionary advancement in patient and support. The new MS One to One Canada Patient Community app is also connecting patients with others who are on the same MS medication, giving them a safe and private space to share about their life, access health trackers, and learn from one another.
These apps have been a much-needed source of connection for individuals living with MS, acting as a virtual community. “It’s a wonderful and safe place to go, chat, and discuss anything about MS or even life in general,” Beverly says of the MS One to One Patient Community app. “There are many great people there who are willing to share their experiences, their challenges, and their successes with MS. We all understand what one another is going through and this gives us a sense of belonging and a feeling of kinship.”
Alex reports a similar experience. “I like how the app gives me an insight into others’ lives with the same condition and what they have or are going through. It’s more on a personal level as you’re talking to actual people across Canada with the same condition.”
There are many great people there who are willing to share their experiences, their challenges, and their successes with MS.Beverly Sudbury on the MS One to One Patient Community app.
A bright digital horizon for Canadians with chronic disease
For Lynda Brown-Ganzert, CEO of Curatio, stories like these are not only a rewarding sign that the work is worthwhile, but also a reminder that, collectively, we all benefit from social connection. “Our private mobile platform connects patients and their families to personalized support, education, and disease management tools that make living with a health challenge easier,” she says. “No patient should be alone in managing their condition and we know that this type of support not only makes life easier, it also improves overall outcomes and well-being.”
Connection and support have always been essential for those living with chronic conditions. The unique pressures of 2020 are encouraging people to embrace digital community tools, and these new tools will continue to evolve and help people in new ways well into the future.
This article was made possible with support from a leading research-based pharmaceutical company.