CHCSA's Multiple Sclerosis support group celebrated their 10 years of service with much bliss.
MS Care, a support group for patients with Multiple Sclerosis, celebrated its 10th anniversary last Sunday. Its continued presence has struck a cord in many patients’ hearts.
For Nacy (pseudo name), the support from MS Care has been invaluable. Not only did she meet other patients to share experiences with, she also found empathy and friendship in this group.
Those struggling with MS, a disease that attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, face much change in their daily life as the disease causes a detrimental effect on basic bodily functions such as walking and seeing. This crippling disease not only harms the patients physically, it hurts them mentally as well.
Herman Lim, one of the counselors with City Harvest Community Service Association who works with MS Care explained that those that find out they are affected by this disease are often confused and hopeless. Their job at MS Care is thus to help the patients overcome their challenges of living with the disease. “We’ve seen them from a time of crisis to a time of blissfulness,” he said. “We believe that blissfulness comes when you can believe in yourself again. This is something we hope to see in every one of our beneficiaries.”
With that in mind for the past 10 years, MS Care had helped many patients walk out of their initial fear and hopelessness. In the 10th anniversary of MS Care, the team wanted to hold this thought in remembrance and came out with the theme of “A Time of Bliss”.
It was a time of bliss not only for the patients, but for MS Care workers as well. Lim shared that MS Care has reached a milestone in their 10th year where they have finally built stronger confidence and a stronger support system for many of their beneficiaries.
“The past 10 years have been very challenging as this is a new disease. When we first began, there were many things we were unaware of as we are the very first MS Support Group in Singapore.” He added proudly, “We started with just a handful of volunteers, but today MS Care is supported by over 30 active volunteers. We even have a hotline for patients to contact us.”
The spirit of MS Care was one of acceptance and cheerfulness. They believe that every individual is a worthy and able person no matter what disability they might have. The event was not just to remind each beneficiary that they are worthy and able, it was also to remind them that they are not alone and to help them feel empowered to stand up to the challenges of MS.
The festivities took place with about 80 people in attendance on Oct. 5. After a quick review of the past 10 years, MS Care opened the floor to a panel of doctors, psychiatrists and nurses. It was a chance for participants to ask questions and to get the latest update on MS related matters. Questions that were asked varied from the medial aspect of the disease to practical tips for daily living.
The event was not just about the information; it was also a chance for the beneficiaries to bond with each other. The RED Nose team, another initiative from CHCSA, joined in the fun and ushered in a kindness movement for the participants giving out hand-made owl cushions to participants. These hand-made cushions were specially made by elderly persons from House Of Joy, a senior center operated by CHCSA.
Over the next few years, MS Care hopes to grow bigger, with more volunteers and with more services for their beneficiaries. “MS diagnosing is becoming more common, we hope to recruit more committed volunteers to meet the growing need for support. We are also looking into having more specialist skilled workers.” Nurses who are trained in MS medication would be a growing resource over the next few years, Lim explained.
“We hope that eventually MS Care will represent the full MS Community in Singapore.” Lim added. “We want to be more than a volunteer group or a resource center. We want to be developed into a group that can provide practical care and home consultation for home-bound patients.”
If you know of anyone facing MS-related challenges who needs help, call the MS Care hotline at 9825 6015.
To volunteer, please visit the CHCSA website at chcsa.org.sg and indicate your interest in MS Care.