Join Amanda at MS Can’t Stop Me October 24-25th – Registration closing soon!!

Written by on September 30th, 2015 – No Comments

Capture1“When you start off with nothing, everything you get can seem like a miracle. The first time I walked up the stairs without a cane I couldn’t stop smiling. The first time I was able to jog or the first time I could walk without a walker, I thought my mother would never stop crying with joy, and I never wanted her to stop. But it took a long time to come to this realization. There is nothing wrong with being fully healthy, and many people who are considered in good physical condition do appreciate many things in life, but too often many people take too many things for granted.

If I’d never experienced literally not being able to get out of bed (because I’d fall over) I probably wouldn’t literally jump out of bed every morning no matter how tired I am. Life the second time around allows you to notice what your eyes were too foolish to see the first time. It is like re-living your past but with a chance to correct old mistakes. When I re-learned to walk, I made sure I walked properly. But most of all I learned to fully understand a word I had long forgotten: thankfulness. I am thankful that my disease is so manageable. I am thankful I have the family that I do. I am thankful there is so much being done to find a cure. I am thankful for a second chance.

This is the beauty of having relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis: I get a lifetime of second chances. Not just one, but many and each time the privileges I am not guaranteed become more valuable then the time before.”


To meet Amanda and other young people affected by MS, join us at ‘MS Can’t Stop Me’, a free forum for young adults ages 18-26 happening October 24th and 25th in Kitchener Waterloo. Partners, allies and caregivers who are young adults are also welcome!! For more information and to register for the event please visit or call 1-800-268-7582 ext. 3170

Head Above Water

Written by on September 23rd, 2015 – 4 Comments

By: Andrea, guest blogger

make one’s way with difficulty.

Sometimes, to struggle is to feel the universe reminding us that we need to slow down, realign ourselves, and be more self-aware before we move forward.  Through self-awareness comes balance and endurance.  So, stay positive.  Stay strong.  Ask for help when you need it.  Remember that, you will find your way through this.

AndreaAt this very moment, I’m struggling.  Struggling to keep my head above water.  Struggling to maintain positivity.  Struggling to ignore the signs my body is giving me, telling me to slow down.  Struggling to live life the way I always lived it before; life and work first, mind and body last.  And this scares me, because I know if I let myself hit that wall at the end of this finish line, it’s going to look different than ever before.  And so, I remind myself that MS or no MS, I need to let myself heal and breathe.  I will not hit that wall.  I will not subject myself to the possibility of another exasperation of symptoms by unintentionally neglecting myself.  It feels like I’m failing, when really, I’m failing to see this is an opportunity to become stronger.  I’ve got you MS.  I own you.  You do not own me.

And now, what a moment ago was struggle, is simply a reminder that I need to stop, and take care of myself.  I may not feel like I am able to do as much as I was able to do before, but in reality, maybe I was doing too much, too poorly.  Now I am choosing to do less, and to do less well.

So, stay positive.  Stay strong.  Ask for help when you need it.  Remember that, you will find your way through this.  And you will feel better than ever before.

Sharing Your Story

Written by on September 8th, 2015 – 1 Comment

As long as I can remember I have been a storyteller. I remember in elementary school that I loved anytime we were allowed to write stories. One of my favourite classes in high school was Writer’s Craft. Storytelling is why I got interested in theatre and am now majoring in Drama Studies and even Sociology because I believe that through understanding each other’s stories, we can learn more about our society . And while my love for stories started in fiction, I’ve learned the power of hearing an individual’s personal story through non-fiction, microsociology and understanding the importance of diversity.

As well, I’ve learned through telling my own story. As a storyteller, I’ve been able to work through my diagnosis, treatment and continuous battles of having MS by knowing my story. And by shaping my narrative. I could have easily turned my life into one of self-pity when I was diagnosed. But I didn’t think that was a fun story. So I turned my diagnosis into a story of empowerment, advocacy and community.

Getting involved with the MS Society has given me a number of occasions to share my story of my diagnosis besides contributing to this blog.

The #MSMyStory video series was an amazing opportunity where I got to contribute to a youth-centric campaign where young people, like myself, that live with MS and have family that live with MS talk about the ups and downs of MS. It was incredible being part of this because I got to hear the stories of so many other young people. I got to see that I am not alone in this journey. While everybody’s MS is different, the narratives can be very similar.

I had the incredible opportunity to do an interview, complètement en français, with Radio-Canada. I’ve been learning French for sometime now and this was a personal point of pride for myself. While I didn’t have perfect French, I felt confident enough in my French, and comfortable enough sharing my story that it came easy to speak on air about living with MS. Click the logo above to listen to the story – click on “Vivre avec la sclérose en plaques” to hear my interview and that of Yves Savoie, president and CEO of the MS Society.

The coolest way I’ve been able to share my story (and really the coolest thing I’ve ever done) was being a speaker at TEDxYorkU this year! I’ve a huge fan of TEDTalks and being on the TED stage, speaking about living with MS and learning from vulnerability was incredible!

While sharing my story has helped me work through all the feelings and experiences I’ve had associated with living with MS, the most amazing part has been hearing the feedback, having people share their own stories and having people saying that they’re taking something away from my storytelling.

Storytelling creates a community. And having a community can making living with MS a little easier. Now that community can be a small group of friends and family, or the entire world.

Interesting read…your thoughts?

Written by on September 1st, 2015 – No Comments

I read this information below to a group of people the other day…found it interesting who agreed with which statements! This was from an article posted on the MS Society of Canada facebook page – my thoughts are below each comment… You don’t have to agree with them of course!

11 Things You Should Never Say to Someone with MS

1)  “You don’t look sick.”

–       I have often wished that I would have shaved my head when I was diagnosed … so I didn’t get this comment. The hidden part of this illness can sometimes be the hardest I find.

2)  “You’re still young enough to get better.”

– uh thanks?

3)  “I don’t know how you caught that.”

– Thanks, neither do I? so stop blaming my dad whose a farmer…I don’t need to blame someone in order to feel better

4)  “Don’t they have a pill for that?”

– they have a pill for everything … some are legal, some aren’t

5)  “I have a friend with MS and she never misses work.”

– that’s awesome! I actually have the flu today … not MS ha

6)  “You are progressing so positively, you must not have what they thought.”

– or I’m a rockstar!

7)  “You use it as a crutch.”








8)  “How did you get approved for disability and I didn’t.”

– my writing is easier to read … :)

9)  “My mom had that, and she exercised and now she is cured.”

– miracle cure …. Awesome!

10)  “If you wake up earlier, you could sleep at night.”

– probably true most days .. but today .. I’m exhausted … MS

11) “It could be worse.”

–       You’re right … it could be (I can’t say I disagree w/ this one 100%.)

–       There was a general consensus .. that when someone with MS tells you this, it’s more acceptable then when just a random person tells you this


What are your thoughts about these statements??

MS Can’t Stop Me – A Free Forum for Young Adults

Written by on August 25th, 2015 – No Comments

Do you have MS or have a family member with MS? Are you between the ages of 18-26?

If so, then join us on October 24 & 25 in Kitchener, Ontario for a chance to share and collaborate with your MS peers. Get comfortable telling your MS Story to different audiences, find out how to influence public policy as a young person, and get prepared to transition into the world of work while still managing your MS, or maintaining your role as a caregiver. MS Can’t Stop Me participants will learn valuable personal leadership skills and develop tools to become MS leaders of the future.


◆ Youth Advocacy Training Institute
◆ Deanna Matzanke – HR/Diversity Professional and Lawyer
◆ Kate Hodgson from 9-5 Narrative
◆ Members of the MS Society Youth Advisory Group
◆ And more!

WHERE: Holiday Inn Kitchener Waterloo Hotel & Conference Centre

WHEN: Saturday, October 24, 5:30pm (following the MS Connect 2015 conference) to Sunday, October 25, 4:00pm

All costs for this event, including Saturday night accommodation at the Holiday Inn, will be covered by the MS Society of Canada. You may also be eligible for a travel subsidy.

For more information or to register: visit or call 1-800-268-7582 ext. 3170

MS Can't Stop Me 2015 poster

Fast Forward your MS Knowledge

Written by on August 18th, 2015 – No Comments

On September 16th, individuals in the Mississauga and surrounding area have the opportunity to attend an evening of expert commentary and discussion on current and emerging management strategies for Relapsing Remitting MS.  Attendees will learn from Dr. Carolina Rush’s insights on the importance of early treatment, when to consider switching therapies, and risk/benefit therapy considerations.

To register please email or call 1-800-843-2438 with the names of all attendees. This meeting series is intended for individuals diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS. We encourage you to invite your friends and family to this event and let us help you #fastforwardyourmsknowledge.

September 16, 6:30-8:30 pm

At the Hilton Meadowvale Hotel, Hazel Ballroom

6750 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, Ontario, L5N 2L3

Refreshments will be served from 6:30 – 7:00

This event will also be accessible via webcast for those unable to attend the meeting in person: (meeting number 682 733 232)

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and like our page!


Gone On Vacation… And Bringing MS With Me

Written by on August 4th, 2015 – 2 Comments

AndreaI’m writing this on a plane, on my way home from visiting family. A lot of my relatives live on the east coast and it was a yearly trip when I was younger. This was the first time I’d been out for about 5 years and it was a great chance to see relatives and re-live childhood memories!

I’ve travelled a lot in the past 10 years or so, including teaching overseas, and travelling from there. I’m determined to not let MS stop me from experiencing the world. I’ve travelled even when I was out of remission at times, but for some reason it was a more difficult trip to pack for and plan this time.

Things have changed a bit, so when I packed to leave I had a suitcase almost full entirely of medical needs, including a large amount of food as MS related digestive issues are becoming very problematic, but can be managed by eating carefully. I also had quite a few “just in case” items like my cane. Complicating things further was that I drove with my parents one way and flew home, so that left me trying to plan and pack and re-pack for different requirements.

But the real point is that it was possible, although requiring a lot of planning, lists, re-packing and thinking through things I made it, I was there to see family, I waded in the ocean (even though the cold water hurt), I had some seafood and most of all was able to participate in a family vacation, and I lived to tell the tale!

I hope whatever you are doing this summer you are enjoying it! Happy Trails to all those travelling!

It’s so Hot…Well, no not Really!

Written by on July 28th, 2015 – No Comments

So I know that I have been posting a lot about “my fitness journey” lately.  Well this stays true to that theme!

I did in fact run in a 5km “fun run”.  My goal was to try and run 4 out of the 5 kilometers.  I ended up doing intervals, 4 minutes jogging and 1 minute walking, and they ended up routing us wrong so I ended up jogging 7 or 7 and a half kilometers. I’ll call it a success!

I’m still running and following a program.  I get frustrated sometimes because I’ve been running for about 2 weeks now and still am not able to jog 5km, but I have to keep reminding myself that this is progress, and besides it’s pretty awesome that I can run at all!

I’ve certainly run into some stumbling blocks (no pun intended!) After a few minutes of running, my legs go numb and it feels like running on knives each time I step down, but I can keep going, so I do!  As it’s getting warmer the heat is causing more of an issue.

I’ve been thinking of trying the cooling clothing for a while, and after reading the article in the MS Canada newsletter I decided to give it a try.  I was unsure of what would suit my needs best, but settled on a belt as I thought it would move best while exercising.  I have found it allows me to exercise for longer, and I tend to go further with feeling in my legs.  Anything to keep me running for longer!  I really enjoy it!

Negative attitude anyone?!

Written by on July 21st, 2015 – 4 Comments

Random topic I know … but an important question I believe.

Do you often find that ANY diagnosed illness or condition CAN lead to an excuse to be negative??

Do I agree with this? To a point – yes.  I think any diagnosis is shocking and everyone deals differently. Some hit rock bottom before picking up the pieces, some stay at rock bottom, some never get that low – it varies, I realize that.  I’m not telling anyone how to act or react …

question markMy question is this;

When does having a negative attitude get to be too much? When are you allowed to slap someone silly and say “relax, it could be worse” or “stop being a downer to everyone else”.  How long do you let someone play their pity role?

I have always believed that MS (or any illness) does NOT allow you to be the “negative nancy” of the group …

Would love someone’s input on how to approach people who are negative with their illness … and I don’t mean “down days” .. I mean pity days ALL THE TIME.  Who go on and on about how awful this illness is the worst – it’s fine if they choose to poison their own life with that attitude,  but what about when they start to poison other people (with or without MS) and put bad thoughts in their head about this illness?



$100,000 Follow the Leader scholarship awarded to exemplary Toronto student

Written by on July 14th, 2015 – No Comments


The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada is proud to announce that Toronto student Allie Sherwin has been awarded a Follow the Leader scholarship, which is made possible by the support of the KRG Children’s Charitable Foundation. Sherwin, whose mother has primary progressive multiple sclerosis, will receive $100,000 towards her expenses throughout her four year undergraduate degree – a degree she hopes will lead to a career in MS research.

“It’s such an amazing opportunity,” says Sherwin, who is set to begin her studies at Western University in the fall. “It’s been hard to watch my mother’s health slowly get worse. This scholarship will help me make a difference in the lives of people who are dealing with the same thing.” (more…)