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MS a battle many fight daily

MS. Two letters that mean so much to so many.

Holly Rutter

Two letters that stand for a silent illness, in which no two journeys are the same. 

Two letters that bring days filled with ever-changing symptoms, fatigue and uncertainty. 

Two letters that lead you to doctor visits, infusion appointments, scans and therapies. 

This is what Multiple Sclerosis (MS) looks like. 

Holly Rutter

It’s been just over six years since I received the call from a nurse on my care team delivering the news of my diagnosis. I can still remember this moment like it was yesterday. I was just days into turning 30, about to start a new job, and was a new mom of a 9-month-old. So many exciting things ahead; and in an instant, two words brought so much unknown. 

MS reshaped the way my family and I had to live our lives and what our future looked like. But, it also helped us expand our gratitude and the belonging we felt for our community in a completely different way. Since the multiple sclerosis diagnosis, I’ve: 

  • Received personalized care by a compassionate team at the Neuroscience Group right in our Fox Valley community. 
  • Learned to lean on friends, family and advocates who rally with me on the good days and even more on the harder days. 
  • Become a source of encouragement for others struggling, including my own sister, who was also diagnosed in 2021.

Every March is recognized as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness month — a time for all affected by this disease to come together for each other and the community to bring attention to this illness that affects the central nervous system. MS happens when the immune system attacks the nerve cells and inhibits them to properly transmit information causing balance issues, weakened vision, fatigue and many other unpredictable symptoms. 

For the approximately 2.5 million people worldwide who suffer from MS daily, treatments and challenges vary and look different. But one thing that remains the same is our strength to fight together and that includes YOU. 

The Fox Valley region has annually been part of one of the National MS Society – Wisconsin Chapter’s “Walk MS” events to raise funds that support life-changing resources and research efforts to help one day find a cure. This year, the walk will be on Saturday, April 22 at The Neuroscience Group Stadium. New this year, Appleton is challenging the community of De Pere to see who can make the biggest impact. The city that raises the most will host the other city’s mayor to sing at the start line! I will be joining Appleton Mayor Jake Woodford on Monday, March 13 at 9:30 am as he kicks off MS Awareness Week with a city proclamation in Houdini Plaza.  Check out the updates from the two cities’ challenges here.  

Thank you for taking the time to consider supporting the many individuals and families who fight for a cure and the therapies to help make us the best version of ourselves. Whether through financial commitment or words of encouragement, THANK YOU. You are seen. You are appreciated. And you are loved. 

Read more about Holly’s journey and the “Sisters Made Strong” Walk MS team here

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