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MS Awareness Month: Navigating MS Together

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Hearing the words – you have MS – can be a life-changing experience, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one. For Richard Fabregui, navigating his MS journey has been overwhelming at times, but made possible through his support network of friends, family and the MS community.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease affecting the central nervous system which includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. It interferes with the brain’s signals to the rest of the body creating symptoms that include vision problems, numbness, cognition and memory issues, as well as impaired balance and mobility – all of which can pose significant hurdles to the daily lives of people living with MS.

Richard Fabregui (right) who lives with MS and his husband, Marc Piercey

“Since my MS diagnosis, I’ve had to switch up many of the routines in my life,” says Richard Fabregui, who was diagnosed in 2015. “Every day can present a new set of challenges. Thankfully, I have my husband, Marc, who’s been there for me since the beginning.”

MS affects everyone differently and the episodic and progressive nature of the disease means life is filled with uncertainty. It can also be considered an invisible disability as many symptoms, such as numbness and cognition issues, are not seen from the outside. Which is why having a strong and understanding support network is so important.

“Everybody’s support system looks different,” says Marc Piercey, Richard’s husband. “We’re very lucky that we have a beautiful family that supports us and friends that are extremely understanding. But not everyone has that.”

MS doesn’t just impact the person living with the disease, but their friends, family and close network are affected. For Fabregui, he’s grateful he can rely on his husband, family and friends for support to navigate his daily routine when he’s not feeling 100%.

“I’m grateful that I’ve had my husband, Marc, to help me overcome my challenges. It’s also reassuring to know that there’s an entire MS community out there and to know that I’m not alone in this journey.”

Beyond his family and friends, Fabregui also highlights the importance of his extended support system—the MS community—that both he and his husband have found support in and a sense of belonging since he first received his diagnosis.

Richard and Marc have accessed programs and resources offered through MS Canada. “Access to mental health supports, support groups, online chats like We Talk MS are so useful. It can be scary to open up and go to a support group, but it’s so worth it.” says Marc.

MS Canada connects the MS community through access to programs and peer support that builds on the sense of belonging that the MS community is known for.

May is MS Awareness Month which brings about many opportunities to come together and support the MS community. Whether you participate or volunteer in a fundraising event like MS Walk or MS Bike, take on the May 50K challenge, or share information about MS with your networks, every action you take improves the lives of the over 90,000 Canadians living with MS.

About MS Canada

At MS Canada, we are inspired by the vision of a world free of multiple sclerosis. We focus on support, advocacy and research that will positively impact the lives of people living with, and affected by MS. For over 75 years, we have been a trusted connection for the MS community to valuable resources and programs needed on their unique MS journey. We advocate for improved policies and systems that will better support Canadians living with MS. We invest in life-changing research that will advance treatment and care, enhance well-being, help to understand and halt disease progression, and ultimately prevent MS.

For more information visit mscanada.ca.

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