Program Notes: Spring Forward, Cool Ahead

By Peter Damiri
Vice President of Programs and Services

Spring Forward, Cool Ahead

As we welcome the start of spring and look forward to nicer weather, this is a perfect time to remind our clients about MSAA’s year-round Cooling Distribution Program. The MSAA Cooling Program offers a variety of free ice-pack vests and accessories to help lessen the negative effects of heat on people living with MS. Vests can be worn under or over clothing and often provide several hours of temporary cooling relief, allowing people to better manage daily life activities, as noted below by MSAA member Nikki from Houston, Texas.

“Due to my MS, I have been unable to work for the past couple of years. It’s beyond a huge adjustment to go from enjoying years of employment and independence to being unable to work. With no income and having to rely on family to help with insurance, it makes what everyone at MSAA does that much more appreciated. This cooling vest is not just an article of clothing. It has the ability to keep me from feeling worse. Thank you so much!”

MSAA greatly appreciates this wonderful note from Nikki and the opportunity to offer our cooling program to the MS community. To learn more about qualifying for a free cooling vest through MSAA, please visit or call (800) 532-7667, ext. 154.

MRI Access Fund Recently Expanded

To help meet the continuously escalating demand for MRI assistance, MSAA recently announced new program changes to the MRI Access Fund that will increase our ability to serve more clients than ever before. In case you were not aware of the update, please know that qualified clients can now receive two MRI scans (brain and c-spine) per application or reimbursement support for previous MRI scans.

Under the reimbursement option, applicants must still apply to the MRI Access Fund, provide required documentation, and meet income eligibility requirements. For qualified clients who have had a cranial and/or c-spine MRI with a date of service from July 1, 2017 to present, MSAA will pay the remaining costs up to a maximum of $600 per MRI. MSAA will pay the billing facility directly; we will not reimburse individual clients. Also, please know the 24-month wait period to reapply for MRI assistance is still in effect. To learn more and apply, please visit or call (800) 532-7667, ext. 120.

MSAA Invites You to Join Our Community

With more than 2,500 active and engaged members, MSAA’s online peer-to-peer forum, My MSAA Community, continues to gain interest and help make a positive impact for people living with MS and their care partners. Launched in the summer of 2016 and powered by HealthUnlocked, My MSAA Community is a safe and friendly online environment where members can share information and experiences, connect with others and contribute to ongoing conversations about everyday life with MS.

Helping to guide conversations when needed and maintain the forum’s respectful rules of engagement are several MSAA volunteer community ambassadors, including the three quoted on this page! Each of these friendly volunteer community ambassadors actively posts and responds to ongoing conversations on a regular basis.

If you are interested in joining the 2,500-plus active and engaged members on My MSAA Community, please visit
Please note that when you visit My MSAA Community, you will not be on MSAA’s website. The online community is accessed through a separate site hosted by

“I stumbled upon the MSAA chat room when I was at my lowest of low points in dealing with my MS. I was disabled and feeling totally worthless and useless. Once I joined the chat room it took me only a matter of weeks to figure out that by helping others in the chat room and sharing common experiences, I not only helped others but I helped myself as well. I found a new purpose in life. The MSAA chat room saved me.”
– Fancy1959 (Joined August 2016)

“I found My MSAA Community, soon after dx. I was so angry! And lost! Here I found others that understood, and didn’t judge me. Here We Are All The Same.”

– Jesmcd2 (Joined August 2016)

“When I found this site, I felt I had joined arms with hundreds who were there to buoy me up and lead me through the maze of emotions and overload of information. I can’t imagine how I’d feel today without the people of this group who have been there along the way. Thank you all!”

– Greaterexp (Joined September 2016)