The MS Society’s Quinte Chapter has roots in the Belleville area, but are hoping to expand into North Hastings as well.

Lead for Public Awareness with the society’s Quinte chapter Amanda Piszczek explains they have monthly support group meetings for those that suffer from the disease, and the people that support them. The groups are a way for people to learn more about the disease and how to manage it.

Piszczek says they want to build a relationship with the area so they can start a support group here.

She explains that multiple sclerosis is a neurological disorder. “It literally means many scars,” Piszczek says. The immune system attacks the protective coating over a person’s nervous system – also known as the myelin sheath. “Much like a rat chewing on wires when that covering gets damaged, the information gets disrupted, which causes a whole host of issues,” Piszczek explains. She says it could lead to your mental health worsening or cognitive issues. “The biggest thing people think of is mobility,” she says.

On top of the information they offer, she explains they also help people manage it. One of the funds they have set-up to help people is for people diagnosed with MS that show symptoms os Uhthoff’s syndrome, which is a form of heat intolerance. “What happens with that is it causes their existing symptoms to be much worse,” she explains, noting symptoms include weakness, tingling and numbness. They help pay for air conditioners for anyone suffering from MS that might need one. They also help get people walkers, wheelchairs or crutches.

Piszczek says they also refer people to outside sources that provide services the caregiver or person suffering from MS might need.

“There is no known cure for MS,” she says. Piszczek says that as research into a cure is on-going, those diagnosed with it work to manage the effects of it and lead a healthy lifestyle.

The society will be hosting its annual walk coming up on May 3rd, but you can donate now. They hope to raise $41,000 through online donations.