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30 Ways to be Visible

By Gay Falkowski

Your MS can be invisible to others – even the worst symptoms can’t always be seen – but its effect on your life doesn’t have to be invisible too. When you say or do things that bring attention to the disease, and especially how it affects you, MS awareness grows. Even if you’re not comfortable publically disclosing your diagnosis, you can become visible in more discreet ways, such as advocating for legislation that will make life better for the MS community. Here are 30 different ways to “be visible” all year long:
1.    Drink your coffee, tea, or hot chocolate from a mug with an MS message. Take it with you on the go.
2.    Wear an MS T-shirt for grocery shopping or other errands.
3.    Add some orange ribbons to your dog’s collar and visit the dog park. The bows may spark questions that lead to conversations about MS.
4.    Put an MS bumper sticker on your car.
5.    If you’re in a scooter or wheelchair, put an MS bumper sticker on that, too.
6.    Wear an MS bracelet.
7.    Collect and wear assorted MS pins.
8.    Join an MS fundraising walk. They are scooter and wheelchair-friendly, too.
9.    Ask places where you do business if you can leave MS educational materials on their counter.
10. Host an MS Focus fundraising event. The MS Focus will show you how. Learn more at msfocus.org/Events/Host-An-Event.
11.  Become an MS Focus Ambassador. Visit msfocus.org/Get-Involved/The-MS-Focus-Ambassador-Program to learn how.
12.  Support businesses that support MS. Go to msfocus.org/Get-Involved/Buy-From-Partners to see who’s partnering with MS Focus.
13. Dress in head-to-toe orange one day every week. Be ready to explain to others what your weekly orange attire signifies.
14. Write about how MS affects you and share it on social media.
15. Take selfies of your greatest accomplishments and share them on social media – along with why they mean so much to you.
16. Write a poem about your MS and look for outlets where you can read it out loud, such as local library poetry events.
17. Encourage church, social, and civic groups in your community to learn more about MS and ways to support the cause.
18. Look for every opportunity to talk about MS with store clerks, bank tellers, wait staff, or others you encounter every day.
19. Write letters to your government representatives to influence legislation that will affect those with MS.
20. Call your government representatives to make your opinions “visible.”
21. Let your loved ones know how they can best support you. They may be unaware how much help you need.
22. When a friend says something about your health that hurts your feelings, let them know, and explain why.
23. Invite a loved one to join you on your next doctor’s visit. Sometimes hearing about your condition from a professional can help them understand how MS affects you.
24. Speak up to let your doctor know when you feel your healthcare plan isn’t working for you anymore.
25. Ask your doctors for more information when you read about new research regarding MS. Share that you want to know when the latest treatment options become available.
26. Request job accommodations to help you complete your assignments. The Job Accommodation Network at askjan.org is a great resource to learn about your rights in the workplace.
27. Volunteer for the MS cause or any other cause you’re passionate about. Let others see you still have much to offer.
28. Join an MS support group and participate in meetings and activities. You can search for a local group in the MS Focus Independent Support Group Network at msfocus.org/Get-Help/Support-Groups.
29. Participate in a clinical trial. Visit clinicaltrials.gov to search for trials that you may qualify for.
30. Enroll in NARCOMS, a global registry for MS research, treatment, and patient education. Visit www.narcoms.org/becomingaparticipant to learn how to participate.