Saturday, June 28, 2014

Top 5 Reasons Why MS SoftServe Rocks


Coming soon to a computer near you - MS SoftServe! In the event that you haven’t heard about the amazing work my buddy Amy Gurowitz is doing, here goes. Amy is running things over at http://www.mssoftserve.org and you’ll really be impressed. This will be the first website of its kind. Unlike any existing site with information, this site will be a completely customizable- individualized space for people to learn what they want, when they want about their unique version of Multiple Sclerosis.

Without further ado…

Here are the top 5 reasons why MS SoftServe rocks:
  1. MS SoftServe will empower. After all, its main mission is to enable MSers to …”successfully cope with their disease through customized, online, active learning on a special website that meets their unique needs for learning.”
  2. MS SoftServe will allow folks to share. The site will serve as a space for MSers to teach others about their version of MS without unnecessary information. This is key, right? Since all of us MSers live with a varying version of MS.
  3. MS SoftServe is led by an amazing woman. Amy’s nature is to educate, soothe and speak to MSers with a compassionate voice, sprinkled with a bit of humor. She works tirelessly at MS SoftServe, to make life easier for those of us living with Multiple Sclerosis.
  4. MS SoftServe benefits from an esteemed Board of Directors. The Board is a group of doctors, bloggers, writers, web designers, software developers, educators, filmmakers, social workers and radio show hosts... All of whom care about, care for or are people living with MS.  Did you know that actor Robbie Benson is on the Board? Pretty cool.
  5. MS SoftServe will ultimately change how we learn about health on the web. We believe it will become a trusted resource for MSers. ‘Nuff said.

I’m on the Board of Directors for http://www.mssoftserve.org and you can imagine that we are all super excited to be a part of this landmark website. So, please join me in supporting MS SoftServe. Donate, Volunteer and/or Spread the word (here).

Oh, and do check out all of the videos – they’re very well done and you’ll meet everyone involved in this uber important project. 


Best always,

Christie

Monday, June 16, 2014

Made Strong

I recently met Dominick who is running things over at Made Strong, an apparel and accessories company with an empowering message. Not only are the shirts great, a portion of the proceeds goes towards our fight against Multiple Sclerosis. He jotted up the words below to describe Made Strong’s mission and inspiration. And, be sure to visit his shop (link below). I invited him to jot up a few words about Made Strong so be sure to have a read through his guest post below.  
Wearing my Made Strong bracelet during a ride - thanks!
(c) cgermans photography 2014
From Dominick, Made Strong, Inc.:
Though I don't have MS, the fight against it became a personal one. Here's why:
I was making designs for various causes and donating portions of the shirts sold to charity. I designed the Made Strong shirt for multiple sclerosis awareness. Soon after I started selling the shirt, I quickly became immersed in the MS community. I started hearing more and more stories of strong individuals who were battling MS. I became pretty close to some of my customers. I was incredibly grateful that this mantra could inspire someone in even the smallest way.
At the time, the name of the company was Nico Apparel but I changed it to Made Strong after receiving some really powerful messages from my customers.
I received a video from an individual with MS wearing a Made Strong sweatshirt. In the video she is walking with a cane for a few steps, she then drops the cane and continues to walk with no assistance. Another time, I got this email from a customer: "I choose to view life's challenges as opportunities. I let adversity strengthen my spirit. My body has gone through hell but my spirit is unbreakable. This is what Made Strong means to me."
video

I built madestrong.org to inspire individuals by selling cause focused apparel and accessories with inspiring messages. We spread awareness and we donate 10% of our profits to charity. So far we’ve donated just under $2.5K to the National MS Society and Race to Erase MS.
We are a customer obsessed little company. We do everything from customized apparel to helping people with medical bills. We’d love to have you be part of our little community…follow us on Facebook (Facebook.com/madestrongllc).
Stay strong.

Thanks Dominick - keep up the good fight! You rock. P.S. if you would like more info about Race to Erase MS, you can check them out (here) and (here). Race to Erase MS is doing fine work with their dedication to the treatment and eventual cure of Multiple Sclerosis. Thanks!

Best always,
Christie

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Floating away...

THE LESION JOURNALS | 5/16/14

feelings

(c) cgermans photography 2014


Floating away...


When asked, "how are you feeling today", it can be difficult to describe MS symptoms to others. I think pictures can sometimes help. This photo captures perfectly how I felt after a stressful week of scorching temperatures and a state of emergency. My brain filled with immense pressure and left me with the feeling of floating away.

I snapped this photo at the car dealership, while waiting for service, and noticed this yellow balloon floating on its own, in a small patch of blue in the midst of smoke-filled skies. I thought to myself, "that's my brain today" yet seeing it in that one clear spot in the sky also gave me hope that I would feel better soon. This, too, shall pass.

Take care,

Christie

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Citizen’s Arrest! Breaking down barriers, one parking spot at a time.

This year’s theme for World MS Day is “access” and it is a great opportunity for all of us to think about the key pillar of the theme: breaking down barriers and providing MSers with access to the same tools, services and facilities as those who do not live with Multiple Sclerosis. Seems easy enough, right?

You’d be surprised.

Sophie Paterson, over at worldmsday.org, jotted up some examples of access issues from around the world. Have a read below. MS is complicated enough and when compounded with accessibility issues, our lives can grow very frustrating and disheartening.

Examples of Access Issues

Courtesy of worldmsday.org (click here)

I recently came across an App that makes an attempt to improve accessibility with a dose of citizen’s vigilantism, one parking spot at a time. I read about it in Fast Company’s article, “Become A Vigilante With This App That Lets You Report Cars In Handicapped Spaces” by Ben Schiller, staff writer for Co.Exist (click here).

Photo courtesy of Parking Mobility app
Disabled parking is so very important and when we notice someone illegally parked in one of our spots, we fill up with feelings of frustration, anger, pain and fear. Mack Marsh, head of “Parking Mobility”, created an app that allows you photograph these offenders and report them to authorities (click here). Over 150,000 images have already been downloaded, in one county alone, and he hopes to spread this to more cities across America.

Hear the crowd roar!

After all, accessible parking does indeed give us access to the important services we all deserve: employment, medical treatment, entertainment and even shopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Proost!

Christie

Monday, March 24, 2014

Seeing MS - Exposing the Invisible Disease

"Most symptoms of multiple sclerosis go unnoticed by everyone except the person living with them. One day they can alter your memory, the next your vision. Striking without warning and leaving no trace, they are invisible." – Seeing MS

I recently came across this amazing creative project, hailing from our friends down under at the MS Society, Australia: Seeing MS. It features the work of nine photographers who worked with MSers to portray the invisibility of nine MS symptoms: fatigue, blurred vision, numbness, brain fog, spasticity, hot and cold, pain, dizziness and loss of balance.

We often talk about the invisibility of Multiple Sclerosis and this MSer: Photographer collaboration successfully and powerfully illustrates MS symptoms through photography. It is so difficult to describe what we live with and understanding our symptoms can be difficult for others, or non-MSers. These photographers have done a dynamite job depicting what the invisibility of MS feels like, a truly incredible accomplishment.

Take a moment to watch the video below, read through their site and download the app (cool filters!) to create your own image of what your MS symptoms are like.



To see the whole project and to make a donation to the MS Society, Australia, check out their site http://seeingms.com

Take care!

Christie

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Let go of what you can't change

Photo courtesy of Finer Minds
I really like this quote and it serves as a great reminder for me to think about letting go of stuff I cannot control. But, I will admit, I find it difficult to do this sometimes. Do you find this to be true, too?

Letting go. Exactly how does one do this? I try my best to move through the bad stuff, like fatigue, but sometimes I just have crummy moments, sprinkled with a bit of self-pity. I try to acknowledge these moments and accept that this is just how it will be, for the time being. I try my best (practice to progress, not to be perfect) to look forward to a new day tomorrow. 

I cannot control that I live with Multiple Sclerosis but I can control how I deal with it. Sure, it’s not easy but I must at least try. So, I write, I work, I play, I garden, I shop, I laugh, I photograph, I read, I cycle. These are all things I do that make me happy, that make me forget that I am someone who lives with MS, if even for just a few moments.

So, I guess my way of letting go is turning to things that I enjoy doing, trying to move on with life. How do you get through bad moments during your life with Multiple Sclerosis? How do you let go?

Hope you’re well.


Best always,
Christie

Thursday, March 6, 2014

7 days of MS Awareness Week – Day 4

"We Write for the Fight"

Extra, extra, read all about it. "Something On Our Minds: An Anthology to benefit the National MS Society" is now available! This is a great book filled with stories written about MSers and those who love us. I've got my copy and it's really good. 

The best part (aside from the wonderful writings of course)? 100% of proceeds will be given to the NMSS. Buy your copy today: Something-Our-Minds-Anthology-Sclerosis

Press Release - We Write for the Fight

Hope you are well this MS Awareness Week, take care!

Christie

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