M.S. and Parkinson’s Support Group
This past week, we got to meet the members of a local Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease support group in Waxahachie, Texas. This support group is sponsored by The National Multiple Sclerosis Society and meets once a month to offer information and fellowship for people who have Multiple Sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease. The group was founded ten years ago by a woman who continues to attend the group, Sherri Valentine. Mrs. Linda DeFrank, a nutritionist, coordinates the program for the group. Both of these ladies live with Multiple Sclerosis. The group welcomes family, friends and caregivers as well.
It was a pleasure to meet the members this month. Our topic was improving relationships between caregivers and care-receivers. It seemed to be something that some of the members could identify with readily, though they had not seen themselves as caregivers or care-receivers previously. I told a story about a daughter-in-law and her elderly father-in-law who encountered problems with issues like “Who’s in charge here?” in their home. I discussed how cooperation and seeing the viewpoint of the other person could help to avoid these relationship pitfalls.
The members were able to relate some of their struggles in relating to others in the “outside world” because of their condition, such as their need for rest, their negative reaction to high temperatures in the summer, and their struggles to find physicians who had answers and compassion. We saw how this group could really be a safe place for patients and their loved ones to discuss their difficulties and get compassionate help and reliable information.
The group’s name is the “Cheesy Striders”, which is meant to “imitate” a charity fundraising group from the Frito-Lay Company called the “Cheesy Riders.” This group has been involved in fundraising for The National M.S. Society with the help of the Frito-Lay Company who provided the group with matching t-shirts, snacks for distribution, and even their own Chester Cheetah costumed character.
Patients with M.S. or Parkinson ’s disease who live in the area of Dallas County or Ellis County, Texas are invited to attend their meetings on the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 12 at the Waxahachie Bible Church in Waxahachie, Texas 75165. You can find support groups for M.S. patients and caregivers throughout the U.S. by visiting the website of The National Multiple Society and clicking on “Find a Chapter.”
I have no doubt that you will benefit from attending a group near you!
Your opinions are welcomed.