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Jaime Anderson, JLA Architects Community Connection

Community Connection: Multiple Sclerosis Society with Jaime Anderson

March is Multiple Sclerosis (MS) awareness month.  Nearly one million people in the United States are affected by MS. There is currently no cure. (National MS Society).

After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2015, Jaime Anderson, a Senior Project Specialist in JLA’s Milwaukee office, decided to become involved with the Multiple Sclerosis Society to educate herself and the community.  She started attending MS related events, including the annual MS Society 1K/5K Walk.

We sat down with Jaime to learn more about how MS has affected her personally and professionally, and the ways that each of us can show our support for those suffering with MS.

How did you get involved with the MS Society?

Jaime:  Since being diagnosed, each year I try to host a virtual fundraiser for the MS Society as well as attend local MS Society Walks.  The MS walks are so fun—not only do you attend the walks to raise awareness you also meet some amazing people and hear their stories.  Some may have a family member, or a close friend affected by MS and walk in their honor or, they might have MS themselves and walk with their support system by their sides.

How has MS impacted you as a professional?

Jaime: MS is a tricky disease; you never know if it is going to be a good day or bad day. I am very lucky as I have more good days than bad.  Personally, I have had vision loss, numbness in limbs, spatial relations (depth perception) issues, and speech issues.  Luckily, it hasn’t directly impacted my work at JLA, I also ensure I take steps in my daily life by listening to my body and my needs.  For example, when a work deadline is approaching, I have learned to realize I cannot do it all and I ask for help from the team when needed.  I might also take a short walk or a break to clear my mind, something I never made a priority before that I do now.

What do you think the greater community should know about MS and the MS Society?

Jaime: MS can be one of those silent diseases, so if I had to ask anything of the community it would simply be kind to those who may be struggling.  MS or not, everyone has a battle they might be going through both mentally and/or physically.  Be a support system to those who may be affected by MS in some form.  A support system is such a huge factor when you have a disease like MS.

“Something I also love to say is, ‘I have MS, MS doesn’t have me. I am still me and I will always be me.’ AND advocate for yourself when it comes to your health.  Always.”

More about MS and the MS Society

The MS Society works to improve the quality of life for people affected by MS  and raise funds for critical MS research. There are four types of MS:

  • Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS) – refers to a first episode of neurologic symptoms caused by inflammation and demyelination in the central nervous system. To meet the definition of CIS, the episode must last at least 24 hours. Though an episode like this is typical of MS, not all people who have CIS go on to develop MS.
  • Relapsing -Remitting (RRMS) – This is Jaime’s official diagnosis.  The most common disease course — shows clearly defined attacks of new or increasing neurologic symptoms. These attacks are also called relapses or exacerbations. They are followed by periods of partial or complete recovery, or remission.
  • Primary-Progressive (PPMS) –neurologic function worsens or disability accumulates as soon as symptoms appear, without early relapses or remissions.
  • Secondary-Progressive (SPMS) – follows the initial relapsing-remitting course. Some people diagnosed with RRMS eventually go on to have a secondary progressive course, in which neurologic function worsens progressively or disability accumulates over time.

How you can help

Upcoming MS Walks:

  • Madison, WI – May 6
  • Denver, CO – May 6
  • Milwaukee, WI – May 7

Learn more here.

ABOUT OUR COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS BLOG SERIES

Here at JLA, we believe giving back is the right thing to do so we support organizations working to make the world a better place. Through our community outreach program, JLA Gives Back, our team works hard to make a positive and tangible impact in our local Colorado & Wisconsin communities. In this blog series, we’re sharing some of the causes and industry organizations that are nearest and dearest to our team member’s hearts.  Whether we are designing a library or volunteering at a food pantry, every day we are driven to create change in our communities through the practice of action in tangible ways.

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