MS Care celebrated its ninth anniversary and honored their clients who face their illness with courage.
By Sandy Poon
Nine years ago, MS Care started out as the only support group under the City Harvest Community Services Association (CHCSA) catering to the socio-emotional needs of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients. Oct. 7 marked a milestone as the group celebrated its ninth anniversary.
Held at a restaurant at VivoCity, the theme was “Royalty”, and the decor—featuring elements of medieval castles—was perfect. “We want them to feel like kings and queens today as they have been so strong, not letting the disease define their life. It is as if they are in the midst of war; no matter how tough it is, they will not back down,” said organizer Herman Lim.
MS is an autoimmune disorder, a chronic and unpredictable disease that affects the central nervous system. “To explain it in layman’s terms, a normal human has a protective layer around the nerve system, but when MS strikes, it eats up the protective layer and infects the nerves leading to varying stages of physical and cognitive disability,” said co-organizer Amelia Mok.
At MS Care, volunteers are paired with a client. “My first client was Ong Jin Li, who had MS when she was 16, and because of MS she was housebound,” said Tansy Teo, 40, a public relation executive who is a volunteer at MS Care. “At first she couldn’t take the reality of her disease, and that’s where volunteers like me come in, to help give emotional support and let them feel that even though they have this illness, they still can live a fruitful life.”
Besides emotional support, MS Care provides clients with aids including medication, counseling and physiotherapy regardless of age, race and religion. Events are organized regularly to help boost the clients’ morale and to build rapport between volunteers and clients. On the agenda that day a challenge to build the tallest castle possible with marshmallows and uncooked pasta noodles. Displaying great creativity, the winning team succeeded in building a fortress that managed to stay upright for a whole five minutes.
During the “MS Equal Movement” segment, clients and family members wrote their thoughts down on cards, penning positive words despite the challenges life had thrown at them. “MS Care has helped me, giving me support through events like this,” said client Christine Yon, 49. “It makes me feel that I’m not alone. Every time MS Care organizes an event, my husband, my son and even my nephew will accompany me.” True to the theme of the day, she chimed, “Today I’m the queen, so my husband will make a crown for me”.
The unity experienced by the MS Care team and beneficiaries crowned the day. Said Mok, “Togetherness is a milestone that we have achieved for our ninth anniversary.”