Multiple Sclerosis Association of America and Novartis Join Forces with TV Personality Montel Williams to Heighten Awareness of MS Progression through Storytelling
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA), in partnership with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Emmy Award-winning television personality and multiple sclerosis (MS) advocate Montel Williams, announced today the launch of My MS Second Act. The educational program aims to improve awareness about MS disease progression and secondary-progressive MS (SPMS) and underscores the need for early symptom identification.
SPMS is an advanced form of MS characterized by progressive and irreversible neurological disability.1 MS affects approximately 2.3 million people worldwide,2 with SPMS impacting up to 80% of those with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), the most common form of MS at diagnosis, over time.2
My MS Second Act kicks off today with a powerful storytelling event hosted by Montel Williams and organized in partnership with The Moth, a non-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. After Montel takes the stage to share his own journey living with MS, three people with MS, who have been working with The Moth to craft their stories, will share their experiences before a live audience.
“As someone who had reported on the stories of others for years, I know how powerful they can be and the importance of being your own advocate,” said Montel Williams. “I understand first-hand the way MS affects how you think and the way you live, particularly when the disease progresses. I have learned through my personal journey that you own your narrative. That’s why I’m excited about the My MS Second Act program and joining hands with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and MSAA to help other people with MS own their narrative.”
The My MS Second Act program will equip people living with MS to be more proactive about noticing signs of disease progression and speaking confidently with their doctors and loved ones about their MS symptoms as they advance.
“Multiple sclerosis can be a very isolating disease so the need to connect with others is especially critical for the MS community,” said Amanda Montague, Vice President of Education and Healthcare Relations, MSAA. “We encourage those living with MS to recognize their MS progression and use the My MS Second Act storytelling toolkit to share their stories, have more meaningful conversations with their healthcare providers and inspire others living with MS to do the same.”
“Novartis has a longstanding commitment to people living with MS and that includes looking beyond treatments to other aspects of their patient journey and what affects their quality of life,” said Leverne Marsh, Vice President of US Neuroscience Franchise, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. “We are honored to collaborate with MSAA and Montel Williams to provide an important resource and help empower those with MS to speak proactively about their progression.”
Visit TalkSPMS on Facebook to share your personal story about living with progressing MS, including SPMS, and MyMSAA.org to download the My MS Second Act digital storytelling tool kit.
For further questions, please contact Kaitlyn Gallagher, Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator at (800) 532-7667, ext. 122 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a national nonprofit organization and leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides free programs and services, such as: a Helpline with trained specialists; award-winning publications, including MSAA’s magazine, The Motivator; MSAA’s nationally recognized website, featuring award-winning educational videos and research updates; S.E.A.R.C.H.™ program to assist the MS community with learning about different treatment choices; a mobile phone app, My MS Manager™ (named one of the best multiple sclerosis iPhone & Android apps by Healthline.com); a resource database, My MS Resource Locator®; safety and mobility equipment distribution; cooling accessories for heat-sensitive individuals; educational programs held across the country; MRI funding; My MSAA Community, a peer-to-peer online support forum; a clinical trial search tool; and more. For additional information, please visit www.mymsaa.org or call (800) 532-7667.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system (CNS), which consists of the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord.3 MS damages or destroys the protective covering (known as myelin) surrounding the nerves of the CNS, and can potentially injure the nerves as well.3 This damage causes reduced communication between the brain and nerve pathways.3 Common MS symptoms include visual problems, overwhelming fatigue, difficulty with balance and coordination, depression and cognitive issues, and various levels of impaired mobility.4 The prevalence of multiple sclerosis is estimated at nearly one million people nationwide5 and most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 50.5 MS is not contagious5 and researchers continue to look for both a cause and a cure.
1. Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. Types of Multiple Sclerosis. Accessed October 16, 2019.
2. Multiple Sclerosis International Federation. Atlas of MS 2013. Accessed October 16, 2019.
3. Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. The Multiple Sclerosis Process and Symptoms. Accessed October 23, 2019.
4. Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. MS Symptom Listing. Accessed October 16, 2019.
5. Multiple Sclerosis Association of America. Who Gets Multiple Sclerosis. Accessed October 16, 2019.