This week we are launching a brand new community. And it is one that personally matters a lot to me. A new multiple sclerosis (MS) community is now live for anyone with the disease – or that cares for anyone with MS – to join, take part in the conversation, share experiences, and access support.
A close family friend of mine was diagnosed with MS about 15 years ago. I watched as that person, and their family, accepted the diagnosis, accessed and undertook treatment, and then as the disease progressed – got through the difficult days, celebrating the good ones.
This tale is not an unusual one – MS is the most common disabling neurological disease of young adults. It is estimated that 400,000 people have been diagnosed with MS in the US, with approximately 200 new cases diagnosed every week. It is most usually found in people who are between 20 to 40 years old (although the old and young are also affected) and live in Europe and North America.
I have personally seen how managing this disease and its effects is not always easy, and how an individual’s needs often extend beyond the talented teams of health and social care professionals caring for them. They may also be looking for general or specific information about the disease, help or advice in managing their finances, information on accessing further care, or just a safe place to talk.
This is where our new partnership with the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) comes in. MSAA is a leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support.
By working together, we are creating a new online space for people with MS to come together and ask any kind of question. The development of this unique community will provide the kind of support that has the potential to make a significant difference to people affected by MS.
But this is more than just a website; it stands apart from other similar types of support by using technology to tailor information specific to the individual, by recognising how they are using the site. It’s a space unlike any other. People with MS can ask for support and provide it to others with the disease, share what they are going through, compare experiences, talk about side effects, and chat about their own daily challenges and how they are managing the disease.
We know the majority of people who come to HealthUnlocked do not know anyone else with the same disease. Coming to this platform changes that. While the symptoms of MS can be treated with medications and other treatments, and disease activity may be slowed for some, there is no cure for MS currently available. Given these facts, I cannot think of a more important cause disease, or a better example, of where bringing people together in an online community, has the potential to positively change the life of everyone who participates.
To join the My MSAA Community, please visit HealthUnlocked.