CHCSA’s MS Care extends the hand of friendship to multiple sclerosis patients to help them to achieve better quality of life.
|CN PHOTO: Lee Boon Bee|
On Saturday, Mar. 6, MS Care organized one of its quarterly gatherings at the Naked Fish Shoppe at The Grassroots’ Club. The event was attended by 46 multiple sclerosis patients and family members, as well as 21 volunteers.
The lunch gathering was an MS Care patient support service, held for the purpose of enabling everyone to catch up with one another, and also to welcome those who were new to MS Care.
MS Care is a service established by City Harvest Community Services Association to offer support to people living with multiple sclerosis. The population of sufferers in Singapore is small, but MS is a rare disease that goes unnoticed. Few people are aware of the condition, and so patients do not get the attention and help they often need.
A chronic and often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system, anyone can get MS, even a young person who is seemingly in the pink of health. There is no known cure for MS. Treatments merely attempt to return bodily functions to the sufferer after an attack, prevent new attacks, and prevent disability.
MS patients have a normal life expectancy, and most don’t “look ill.” For many suffering from MS, it is a constant struggle to maintain a normal, active life. It can be very financially, psychologically and emotionally draining for both the patients and their family members.
“They need opportunities to build meaningful relationships and achieve a sense of acceptance and self-worth, to help them integrate into society,” says Nathalie Chen, a primary school teacher who has been serving regularly in MS Care as a volunteer. She is among a small group of individuals who contribute their time and efforts towards the MS community in Singapore.
MS Care began with just a handful of members, but having consistently extended a helping hand in this area, it now serves hundreds of patients and their family members. As they help, the volunteers are rewarded when they witness extraordinary life stories of faith and hope.
Like Alvin Phua, for example, who contracted MS when he was just 23. But today, he has overcome his impairment and fought toward maximizing his potential in life. Phua is now an education consultant and an entrepreneur.
He shares with City News that although the disease has disabled him to the point of being unable to hold a pen to write, he chooses to focus on what he can do, instead of what he can no longer do. He constantly uses his life to encourage those with MS, by being a friend in need and counseling those who are depressed.
MS Care offers a dedicated 24-hour hotline for its members, as well as weekly visits to patients’ homes. Other services include the MS Assistance Fund, which consists of a partnership program between CHCSA’s MS Care Group and the National University Hospital’s NUH Patientcare Charity Fund.
For more information on MS Care, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.