By: Kelly Garrity, Senior Director, Membership Services and Development
Can Do Multiple Sclerosis (MS) helps families living with MS to thrive by focusing on what they ‘can do.’ The organization’s health and wellness education programs center on exercise, nutrition, symptom management, communication skills, and motivation to make positive change in life.
The nonprofit organization was founded in 1984 by Jimmie Heuga, an Olympic skier who developed MS at the peak of his career. When Jimmie was diagnosed with MS, doctors advised him to avoid physical activity because it was thought that exercise would exacerbate his symptoms. Jimmie founded The Jimmie Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis, now Can Do MS, to challenge the conventional medical advice of the time and share his program of physical activity, goal-setting, and psychological motivation that improved his physical condition and outlook on life and MS.
Jimmie pioneered a whole-person philosophy that is recognized today as a standard of MS care. Can Do MS uses a “whole person, whole health, and whole community” approach to provide a unique, multi-dimensional view to address the physical, interpersonal, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects unique to individuals and their support partners.
NHC is the leading coalition committed to patients and support partners living with chronic illness. The integrity of the people, advocacy work, purposeful engagement around key issues, and high level of educational resources are all important to those living with MS and to Can Do MS.
Can Do MS offers various in-person programs, webinars, podcasts and interactive online series to meet the mission. It recently launched “MS Path 2 Care,” an online educational series aiming to encourage strong and collaborative relationships with all those involved in MS care. The series features four educational modules designed to help patients become more active partners in their health by taking charge of managing the full scope of their disease and enriching relationships most critical to their MS journeys.
For more information on becoming an NHC member, email me.