Following her own multiple sclerosis diagnosis, Diane Stelfox Cook has become a passionate advocate for raising awareness about the chronic disease.
What is multiple sclerosis (MS)?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease with many autoimmune disorder type qualities. Diagnosis of MS is categorized by the discovery of more than one lesion within the brain or spine. A rare disease, less than 200,000 individuals are diagnosed with MS each year in the United States. Despite years of research and a recent ramping up of quality in this research, it is still unknown what exactly causes MS — though theories are developing in recent years. The disease activity is seen within the immune system, which eats away at the protective covering of nerves and myelin sheath, which protects the brain. Symptoms of MS include fatigue, cognitive fog, impaired coordination, vision loss, pain and physical disability. MS is experienced differently by each and every person diagnosed with the disease, which is why it is often referred to as a snowflake disease.
MS Awareness Nonprofit Organizations
Since her own diagnosis, Diane Stelfox Cook has worked diligently to become more actively involved in the local MS awareness community. The publication of her memoir, So Many Angels, was her first step into this newfound territory. Three years on, she hopes that the book helps recently diagnosed readers as they come to grips with the initially confusing terrain of navigating an MS diagnosis. Stelfox Cook is proud to support local efforts in raising awareness about MS and pushing for more focused research on the disease. Relevant nonprofits she enjoys supporting include:
- National MS Society
- Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
- Myelin Repair Foundation
- Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA)
When possible, Diane Stelfox Cook enjoys participating in local MS walks and awareness raising initiatives. In the future, she hopes to embark on larger scale projects with MS awareness and research focused nonprofits, particularly in tandem with her own memoir.