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I’m Not Your Cousin’s Uncle’s Stepdaughter’s Dog Walker With MS

It is invariable in life.

Every time I become vulnerable enough to tell someone new I’ve met, “I have multiple sclerosis.” Then comes… The Story.

Usually preceded by an uncomfortable, choking silence.

“Oh. My *insert uncle, stepsister, coworker, friend’s wife, cousin of the butcher you knew in college* has that,” they say.

Or worse yet. “My dad’s friend had that. He’s dead now.”

Dude. Please. People with MS do not to need to hear this. People without MS do not need to hear this. This story you have? Is not likely even one you know well. It does not help MS advocacy.

Please, keep it to yourself.

Stay open.

If you’ve met — or heard — about one person with MS. You have met — or heard — about one person with MS. There is a large spectrum of how MS effects people. There are mild cases. There are extreme cases. There are some in the middle.

But we are all human. We are spirits. We are people. We bleed. We breathe. We feel.

And it hurts to be immediately slotted into whatever pre-conceived notion you may have of what MS is or is not.


Be open.

Try kindness.

A little silence.

Here are some great ideas to say to the next person you meet who is brave enough to confide in you that they have MS:

“Tell me more about you.”

“I’ve heard a little about MS, but would like to hear your perspective.”

“Would you like some ice cream?”

Getty photo by OGri