In 2015, Rob, a husband and a father living in Omaha, was having a number of symptoms that couldn’t quite be explained—fatigue, balance issues, a lack of energy. But once his primary care doctor realized that his mind wasn’t allowing his body to do certain things, Rob was referred to a neurologist and was diagnosed with MS. “My first reaction was, ‘what’s MS?’” he said, saying that the diagnosis caught him off guard. “I had no idea. I thought it was an old person’s disease and had no general understanding of what it meant.”
But once he understood the diagnosis more, he realized that it made sense with his symptoms and tried to figure out his next steps. “I asked my MS neurologist what to do, and she said I needed to get a support system to help me understand this diagnosis.”
He then connected with the National MS Society – Mid America Chapter, who provided him with resources right away. Rob was also given the opportunity to help create a MS support group in the Omaha area. “I don’t wait for things to happen—I make them happen,” he said. “The MS Society was surprised that I wanted to take this on having just been diagnosed myself, but I could see the importance of the support group, so they helped me start it.”
Now, the group meets monthly and has about 30 people attend. They have speakers come in to educate the group and also support one another. “Someone who doesn’t have MS can’t always empathize or relate. So having people who do makes it more bearable, because they truly understand what I’m going through.”
Rob also participates in the MS leadership council and events the MS Society puts on, including Walk MS, Bike MS and family days. “I try to stay as involved as I can. It’s very important to me to stay plugged in to the resources available for symptom and life management.”
The National MS Society does a lot to support people with MS, including education, advocacy and funding for medical research. “The National MS Society is truly a caring organization that wants those that are impacted both directly and indirectly with MS. They try and stay focused on the needs of those involved. The team at the NMSS provides a much-needed resource and presence that is greatly appreciated and respected,” Rob said.