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‘Tis the Season to Keep the Holidays from Stressing You Out By James Black

For anyone with MS, stress can make the holiday season anything but holly and jolly. The impact of stressors varies from one person to the next, just as the effects of multiple sclerosis vary. Researchers agree, however, that it’s crucial for you to determine how to comfortably manage those things that cause you stress so they, in turn, do not exacerbate your MS symptoms. One of the first steps is recognizing your own stress signals. Physical signs can include rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, stomachaches, muscle spasms, dry mouth, sleeping too much or too little, headaches and fatigue. Emotional signs of stress can include anxiety, worry, irritability, boredom, depression, nightmares and a feeling of being overwhelmed. Despite best intentions, individuals with MS can add to their own stress: in an effort to pull off a perfect holiday and be seen as the host with the most, you might find yourself facing dizzying demands. Work, parties, shopping, baking, cleaning, caring for elderly parents or children on school break, and an annual avalanche of activities can individually and collectively take their toll. CONTINUED ON PAGE 7


Message from Mark Neagli Page 3

Self-Help Groups Page 4

Tykeson Fellows Conference Page 5

Year-End Giving Page 6


National MS Society 4125 Carlisle Blvd. NE Suite A Albuquerque, NM 87107 tel +1 800 344 4867 tel +1 505 243 2792 fax +1 505 244 0629 Staff & Leadership Mark Neagli, Regional Executive Vice President Vicki Kowal, Coordinator Programs & Services Suzanne Lawson, Manager, Marketing & Communications, MSConnection Editor Maggie Schold, Manager, Special Events David Peters, Chair, Leadership Council The National Multiple Sclerosis Society does not endorse products, services or manufacturers. Such names appear here solely because they are considered valuable information. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society assumes no liability for the use of contents of any product or service mentioned. Information provided by the Society is based upon professional advice, published, experience and expert opinion. Information provided in response to questions does not constitute therapeutic recommendations or prescriptions. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society recommends that all questions and information be discussed with a personal physician.



National MS Society’s Rio Grande office joins South Central Region By Courtney Maturo

On July 1, 2010, the National MS Society’s Rio Grande Office joined the Society’s South Central Region. Moving forward, we will provide our programs and services, and fund research, alongside Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. As part of a much larger network, we are more efficient and more effective. The National MS Society remains dedicated to those diagnosed and affected by MS in New Mexico and the El Paso, Texas area. Joining forces with other offices in the region encourages collaboration and cooperation. A closer relationship with offices in these neighboring states means greater opportunity for you to learn more about MS news, avenues of discovery and breakthroughs in critical medical research. We look forward to sharing the knowledge gained and ideas formed from the staff and volunteers in the South Central Region. Working together, we are creating a world free of multiple sclerosis.

TheTHE National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to JOIN MOVEMENT: ending the devastating effects of MS. © 2010 National Multiple Sclerosis Society, South Central Region




Courtney Maturo is an intern in the Society’s Rio Grande office.


As we wrap up another busy and productive year at the National MS Society, it’s time to reflect on how each of us has made an impact on the world around us, as well as how much we must continue to do in the new year. Everyone at the Society works to ensure that the spirit of goodwill and helping others thrives year-round. We do it by making sure the gifts we receive – through donations, fundraisers and other contributions – are wisely and efficiently used on behalf of the people we serve. Persons with MS – as well as their families, friends and health care professionals – trust and count on us as good stewards everyday, not just once a season. MS stops people from moving, but we cannot stop in our movement to provide direct services and to fund research. We must work non-stop to raise funds to move us closer to an MS cure. The economic environment of the past two years has made that mission more challenging, but it is a challenge we must – and will – face with dedication and determination. We generate much-needed funds through our annual fundraisers, such as the

popular Bike MS and Walk MS events; through Strategic Philanthropy, including grants, individual gifts, major giving and workplace giving; from community events and leadership events, such as the Champions Trivia Challenge; and from funds from our Society headquarters through its direct marketing efforts, campaigns and general donations. Every dollar makes a difference and every contribution helps someone who must face the challenges of MS each day. You can help through one-time or recurring monthly donations; tributes and memorial gifts in honor of a loved one; pledges to a Bike MS or Walk MS event participant; workplace giving; and planned-giving gifts through bequests, charitable gift annuities, trusts or other estate plans. With your contributions, you’re a partner in our journey toward a world free of MS. We couldn’t do what we do without you.

As 2010 Draws to a close, we keep moving to help others in 2011 by Mark Neagli Regional Executive Vice President

For information on how you can help, I urge you to call us at 1-800-344-4867. Thank you for your continued involvement in the MS movement. I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful and joyful holiday season.

TOLL FREE NUMBER 1 800 344 4867

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Self-Help Groups


The National MS Society offers a variety of Self-Help Groups throughout New Mexico and the El Paso, Texas area. For a complete list, visit

self-help groups offer support by Phone By Susan La Combe

Farmington/Contact: Donna 505-334-3316 1 p.m. second Tuesday of each month San Juan Regional Offices, 2325 East 30th St., Farmington

Self-Help Groups offer opportunities to make new friends and share with others how you experience life with MS. Meetings provide settings to share common concerns, give and receive emotional support, and receive MS-related information from peers and guest speakers. Self-Help Groups are facilitated by trained volunteers with personal experiences with MS.

Santa Fe/Contact: Wendy 505-988-2368 11 a.m. first and third Tuesday of each month Rainbow Vision, 500 Rodeo Rd., Santa Fe

The Society also offers several Self-Help Groups that meet by phone, giving you the opportunity to join in from the comfort of your own home:

Grants/Contact: Sandra 505-876-1896 1 p.m. second Saturday of each month Cibola General Hospital (Community Room), 1016 Roosevelt Ave., Grants

Home is Your Range Noon MT first Wednesday of each month 1-888-346-3659 (enter code 1073 when prompted)

Albuquerque: East Mountain/Estancia Valley/Contact: Donna 505-281-0996 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. second Friday of each month Edgewood Library, 95 North Highway 344, Edgewood

MS & Cancer 2 p.m. MT fourth Wednesday of each month 1-888-346-3659 (enter code 1073 when prompted)

Roswell/Contact: Shellie 575-910-4528 4:30 - 6 p.m. fourth Tuesday of each month Roswell Adult Center, 807 North Missouri, Roswell

Stay at Home 10 a.m. MT third Wednesday of each month Support for those living with MS for five years or more 1-888-346-3659 (enter code 64552 when prompted) Susan La Combe is Programs and Services Manager in the Society’s Dallas office. She can be reached at susan.





research AND Clinical Trainees Connect at Tykeson Fellows Conference In San Antonio, Texas this past summer, the Second Tykeson Fellows Conference on MS brought 57 National MS Society research and clinical fellows together to learn about each other’s latest research efforts. The conference was convened by the Society and launched by a generous contribution from Donald Tykeson, active volunteer and Honorary Life Director of the Society’s National Board of Directors, and supported by donations from Genentech, Genzyme Corp., Sanofi-aventis, Bayer HealthCare and Teva Neuroscience. “We’ve made great progress in slowing down the disease, but finding the cause and the cure has so far eluded us,” said Tykeson in his welcoming remarks. “This meeting is an opportunity for global networking and enjoying a sense of community among MS researchers. I hope and expect that this collaboration will lead to new research ideas.” Thomas G. Forsthuber, M.D., Ph.D., with the University of Texas at San Antonio spoke at a special dinner for fellows and other attendees. A long-time Society volunteer, Forsthuber began his MS research career as a Society Harry Weaver Neuroscience Scholar. He emphasized the importance of remaining committed to MS research and of staying connected with the Society. One strategy for keeping the best and brightest engaged in MS research is to enhance young investigators’ career trajectories and competitiveness. Grantees are constantly faced with the need to present their ideas to earn funding or develop collaborations, so the conference featured a session on building effective communications skills. “This Tykeson meeting is terrific,” said Tiffany Braley, M.D., a fellow at the University of Michigan working with Benjamin Segal, M.D. “It brings everyone in MS together. The MS field is becoming more and more collaborative.” Attendees spoke highly of the experience of being a Society fellow. “Young investigator funding is so hard to get,” said Wensheng Lin, M.D., Ph.D., who is completing a fellowship at the University of South Alabama and is investigating the possible protective role of an immune messenger protein in MS. “I’m so grateful to be able to continue this work.” For more information about the National MS Society’s research efforts, visit TOLL FREE NUMBER 1 800 344 4867

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‘Tis the Season Holiday stress is often the result of three main trigger points. Understanding these triggers can help you plan on how to best handle them: • Relationships: Your personal and professional relationships can cause turmoil, conflict or stress at any time, but tensions intensify during the holidays. Family misunderstandings and conflicts can heighten, especially if you’re all thrust together for several days. Conflicts are bound to arise with so many different personalities, needs and interests. On the other hand, if you’re facing the holidays without a loved one or on your own, you may find yourself especially lonely or sad. • Finances: Like relationships, your financial situation can cause stress at any time, especially when so many individuals and families are affected by the present economic situation. Holiday overspending on gifts, travel, food and entertainment can magnify stress as you try to make ends meet. • Physical demands: The strain of shopping, attending social gatherings and preparing holiday meals can wipe you out, especially when you’re dealing with the daily challenges of MS. Feeling exhausted increases your stress, creating a vicious cycle. High demands, lack of exercise, and overindulgence in food and drink are also volatile ingredients for holiday stress. When stress is at its peak, it’s often difficult to stop and regroup. Being realistic, planning and seeking support can help. Try to prevent stress and depression in the first place, especially if you know the holidays have taken an emotional toll in previous years. You may even wind up enjoying the holidays more than you initially thought you would.

PracticalPROGRAMS Tips for managing holiday stress • Ask for help when you need it. Make your requests as specific as possible: “Would you please help me by …” • Set realistic goals and learn to say “no.” You don’t have to do anything if you don’t have the time, energy or desire. People will understand if you can’t do certain projects or activities. • Realize that, as families change and grow, traditions and rituals often change as well. Hold on to those you can and want to retain, but accept that you may have to let go of others. • Get extra sleep before family gatherings or important events. • Give yourself extra time to get to where you’re going. Expect travel delays, especially if you’re flying. • Do one thing at a time. Don’t feel pressured to do as much as possible. • Schedule rest periods. • Enlist support for organizing holiday gatherings, meals and cleanup. In addition, the National MS Society has a variety of documents and webcasts on identifying and managing stress, relaxation techniques and more. Accessing these resources is stress-free: They can be found online at nationalMSsociety. org; simply click the link for Living with MS, followed by the link for Healthy Living. You can also call the Society for information at 1-800-344-4867 (press 1).

James Black is Strategic Communications Specialist in the Society’s Houston office. He can be reached at

TOLL FREE NUMBER 1 800 344 4867

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It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone – it seems that every year December comes sooner than the one before it!

Year-End Giving Helps Others in Need ALl Year Long by Kristen Stubbs Vice President, Strategic Philanthropy

Each year, I take this opportunity to highlight some of the programs and services the Society has provided to people living with MS, as well as a few of the advances in MS research. This article also is an opportunity to remind us all of the vast amounts of money that it takes to fund these programs and this extremely vital research. With the economy slowly making its way back, the Society had the opportunity to move others through our vast array of programs and services. Thousands of people took part in our wellness classes across the region and numerous Self-Help Groups provided support and fellowship. We were able to fund and renew more scholarships to students whose lives have been impacted by MS. Nearly 500 volunteers in leadership roles shared their talents to move our mission forward. 2010 was also a big year in research efforts. The first oral medication for specific symptom management became available and the




FDA has fast-tracked the review of several diseasemodifying oral medications. This breakthrough alone will transform countless lives, as many people living with MS will be able to take a pill instead of using a needle when taking their MS medications. Because of gifts from many generous donors and event participants, we were able to give $6.8 million to research in 2010 – research that will be instrumental in three areas of focus: stopping MS progression, restoring myelin loss and ending MS altogether. With your year-end gift, the National MS Society can continue to provide programs and services to thousands of people living with MS and we will be able to continue to fund the research that is so vitally important. Please consider making your taxdeductible year-end gift today. Kristen Stubbs is Vice President of Strategic Philanthropy. To make a contribution to help families who need assistance, or should you have any questions regarding how your gift is used and ways in which your gift can be directed, contact Kristen at 713-3942991 or

Rio Grande 4125 Carlisle Blvd. NE Ste A Albuquerque, NM 87107-4806

IT’S OK IN 2011


CONFERENCE AND ANNuAL MEETING Tulsa, Oklahoma • January 2011


MSConnection Rio Grande  

MSConnection, a publication of the National MS Society