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WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER BY JANINE VANIER “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead Janine Vanier and Mark Gagliardi I was first diagnosed in 1987 with the loss of vision in my left eye. It was a relief to finally know but at the same time, there were no therapies, no diagnosis of the different courses of the disease, and I was basically just told to make sure that I had good medical coverage and long term disability insurance. As a single mother of two small children, I was absolutely terrified of becoming a burden and being unable to care for my family. For years I lived in denial and fear, not telling anyone except for a few of my family members. Starting in 1993, I began participating in Walk MS, telling people “I know someone who has MS.” In 1998, that all changed when I began asking for help for myself. The gates opened. I felt like I was “newly diagnosed.” I joined a support group, went to workshops, started letting people know that I had MS and was ready to help others living with MS.

The Chapter gave me the encouragement, confidence and tools I needed to reach out to the important people in my life and so I wrote many letters disclosing my MS and creating awareness about MS itself. My family, my office co-workers, my employer (I work for Teamsters Local 853 in the East Bay), and friends all got together and formed my incredible Walk MS team, the TeamMSters! Since the birth of the TeamMSters, we have raised over $492,080.00! The inspiration and help I receive from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is immeasurable. I am thrilled to be able to give back to the Society what they have so freely given to me; their support, dedication, lots of HOPE, and the reason to believe that multiple sclerosis will soon be a disease of the past. We invite you to walk with Janine and others affected by MS this April and May at one of12 Northern California walk sites. Money raised at Walk MS events funds innovative programs and services and critical research focused on stopping the progression of MS, restoring function that’s been lost, and ending MS forever. Step by step, dollar by dollar, Walk MS is changing lives. Register today at

Newly Diagnosed Orientation

Sausalito Kayaking Adventure

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 6:30 -8:30 PM National MS Society San Francisco Office 1700 Owens Street, Suite 190 San Francisco, CA

Saturday, June 2, 2012 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM Schoonmaker Marina, Sausalito

Grab a paddle and climb aboard: our trained guides from ETC (Environmental Travel Companions) have experience leading sea Are you newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis? kayaking trips for persons with disabilities. This A diagnosis of MS can create many unexpected activity is great for folks of all mobility levels, but emotions that leave you with a strong need only those ages 12 and older, please. Previous to understand the changes you may be facing. experience is not necessary. Space is limited, so This informative program will address the most be sure to sign up and reserve your spot early! common concerns for people who are newly Please bring a hearty lunch for a picnic on the diagnosed as well as family and friends who want beach and snacks that are easy to eat on the to learn more. Join trained National MS Society water (i.e. granola or energy bars). Equipment, staff and an RN specializing in MS, and discover safety gear and instruction are provided. resources and answers to your MS questions. Please email Joy O’Donnell at joy.odonnell@ Pre-registration is required. To register, please (or call her at 415-230-6677, option visit or call 2, ext. 73016) for pricing information and to 800-344-4867. register.

A New Study for People with MS who have Problems with Walking and Balance Do you have problems walking or keeping your balance? Have you fallen in the last 12 months? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you might want to call about participating in a study looking at placing small amounts of weight on the body to see if it improves your ability to balance and move more easily. Subjects will come to Samuel Merritt University in downtown Oakland once for about 4 hours total. As a participant, you will be asked to complete several surveys and several tests that measure how well you can maintain your balance and see how well you can stand up, walk, and turn. You will be allowed to rest whenever you need it. As a thank you for participating, you will be given two free movie tickets when you complete the study. Gail Widener, PT, PhD and Diane Allen, PT, PhD are the researchers conducting this study funded by the National Institutes of Health. If you are interested please contact the Research Laboratory at Samuel Merritt University at (510) 869-6511, ext 4411.

Bay Area Self-Help Groups

CogniFitness Keep the Mind Moving Fridays starting June 15, 2012 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM Northern California Chapter Headquarters 1700 Owens Street, Suite 190 San Francisco, CA • Do you find it difficult to focus on a task without getting distracted? • Do you have difficulty finding words or finishing your sentences? • Do you often have a hard time keeping track of activities & appointments? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this program is for you. CogniFitness is a fun and educational 8 week series that will help keep the mind moving and develop new techniques to strengthen cognitive skills. Realize your optimal thinking skills utilizing techniques that have everyday applications. Learn to: • Facilitate focus and concentration • Improve memory using new strategies • Improve organization, problem solving & critical thinking skills • Manage cognitive fatigue Pre-registration is required. Please visit www. or call 800-3444867 for pricing and program information and to register.

FACEBOOK The Northern California Chapter Facebook page has over 2,150 fans and counting. Become a fan today and get connected to other people living with MS.

ALAMEDA COUNTY Alameda Sharon 510-521-6260 or Ray 510-522-5210 Berkeley Lunch Group (meets periodically) Toni 510-653-4534 Central Berkeley Audrey 510-287-6543 East Bay Lesbians Nora 510-313-3862 Fremont Kim 510-793-0765 Oakland Katrina 510-523-1891 Oakland: African Americans Karen 510-757-3290 Oakland: Latinos Elsa 510-777-1414 CONTRA COSTA COUNTY Brentwood MS for lunch bunch Kathy 925-286-7674 or Julie 925-513-4686 Mt. Diablo (Concord) Cindy 925-677-0737 or Jan 925-372-0859 El Cerrito Elizabeth 510-549-2154 MARIN COUNTY Corte Madera Vicki 415-892-7370 or Anita 415-892-5548 SAN MATEO COUNTY Foster City Eli 650-377-1970 San Mateo George 650-593-5154 SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY San Francisco Young at Heart Group George 415-724-0064 SF Potluck Luncheon (meets periodically) Karen 415-584-6115

What’s Happening Around the Chapter Central Valley


Play Ball! - April 14 Newly Diagnosed Orientation - May 1 Insurance Appeals Workshop - May 12 Navigating Systems & Community Resources - June 14

Strike Out MS Night - April 13 MS, Memory & Concentration - April 17 Newly Diagnosed Orientation - May 3 Terry Rossman MS Golf Experience - May 11 Connecting through Clay - May 19

South Bay Area

North Bay

Fall Prevention Workshop - June 2 Newly Diagnosed Orientation - May 17 Self-Advocacy Skills Training - June 30 Yoga for MS - ongoing

Kayaking- June 2 Eureka Yoga Retreat - June 23

Visit to register and for full program descriptions.

Accessible from the Comfort of Home New! Online Newly Diagnosed Orientation Thursday, May 17th & Thursday, June 14th 6:00 – 7:30 PM Online and over the phone Are you Newly Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis? A diagnosis of MS can create many unexpected emotions that leave you with a strong need to understand the changes you may be facing. This web based program will be conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Crabtree, Assistant Clinical Professor of Neurology at UCSF and Director of Patient Program Development at the UCSF MS Center. Dr. Crabtree will address the most common concerns for people who are newly diagnosed. This orientation provides an excellent opportunity to have any questions you may wish to ask answered and learn more about the resources available to persons living with multiple sclerosis. A phone and computer with internet access will be necessary to join this program. Please call 800-344-4867 or visit to register for this program.

Pain Management - New Program Coming Soon! – Date & time TBD Online and over the phone Stress, pain and discomfort are very common in MS. MS creates its own emotionally taxing predicaments, not the least of which is dealing with the unpredictable course of this disease. Furthermore, some studies suggest that over 55% of people living with MS had “clinically significant pain”. Almost half (48%) were troubled by chronic pain. This program will be facilitated by Dr. Pearl Werfel, a licensed psychologist with over 25 years of experience. Her areas of expertise include living well with MS and other chronic illness and anxiety, stress and pain mitigation. If pain and discomfort are symptoms that you experience, we invite you to join the Northern California Chapter in a chapter-wide program starting this spring. Please call 800-344-4867 for more information.

Bay Area Programs Spring 2012  

Bay Area Programs Spring 2012

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