Local Residents Discuss Living with Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a debilitating disease affecting more than 400,000 people in the U.S. and 2.1 million worldwide. Sheila Yost was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, or MS, in 1986 and has been living with the disease ever since.

MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Yost, the Vice President of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Multiple Sclerosis Society, says, "MS doesn’t just affect the MSer, because it changes everybody in the family. It affects everyone who realizes you’re not the same person you were, especially when you’re having an exacerbation of your MS."

While Yost lives with this disease, she’s making the most of her health, using her hands to stain the deck of the home of another Gulfport family dealing with the effects of MS. Members of the MS Society and Mississippi Power worked alongside her. Rodger Meinzinger, Manager of Charitable Giving for Mississippi Power, says, "It’s been great, the gleam in the people’s eyes when we’re here to help. The work team here is great. We’re getting along fine and you’re getting such a good feeling of giving back."

A Mississippi homeowner, Joyce Harper, tells News 25 her daughter was in med school training to be a neurosurgeon when she was diagnosed with MS. In the past two decades, the disease has debilitated her and she is now bed ridden.

Harper says she is extremely grateful for the help these volunteers gave her Thursday. Yost closes, "Being a MSer, I experience the things Miss Harper’s daughter experiences. So we have an understanding, and it gives me a chance to give to other MSers while I can still give because one day, I might be the person in need of help."

Scientists still don’t know what causes MS, but with research and awareness like this, hope remains that one day, we may live in a world without MS. The National Walk for Multiple Sclerosis will take place in March in Ocean Springs.

Categories: Local News, News

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