MS event funds important work of support group

Sheila Yost with her husband, Freddie.
Sheila Yost with her husband, Freddie. The Yosts

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Share with MSers fundraiser will be 5-8 p.m. Saturday at the D’Iberville Civic Center, 10085 Doris Deno Ave.

There will be refreshments and women from the D’Iberville Senior Center will provide line dancing as the entertainment.

Along with a silent auction and door prizes, there will be two raffles. The first is for a queen-sized afghan and the second is for a set of his-and-hers comforters made in the New Orleans Saints’ black and gold colors. Raffle tickets are $5 each. Donations of $10 will be accepted as admission.

The annual fundraiser is essential to funding the services the society provides throughout the year.

Marilyn Ladnier, publicity chair for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Multiple Sclerosis Organization, said 98 percent of the non-profit’s proceeds go back to the community. Ladnier said they are able to do that because the people they treat contribute to running the organization.

“We can do that because there’s no overhead and no staff. It’s just MSers helping MSers,” she said, quoting the Society’s motto.

The services they provide include helping members buy equipment, paying utilities, building ramps and providing other help for the disabled.

They also offer financial assistance, which for many is needed to help with the rising costs of medicine and treatment.

Shelia Yost is vice president of the society and has lived with MS since 1986. She said there are about 80 members who meet monthly to hear guest speakers, often from the medical field. Because MSers struggle with the heat and humidity, the society no longer meets between May and August.

Yost said the members’ support for one another is great.

“We support each other when sharing our experiences managing MS,” Yost said. “Especially with newly diagnosed members, it is good to show the diagnosis doesn’t mean the end of your life, it’s just going to change.

“We keep our meetings informative and positive, always informing our members about new studies and new drugs. Sharing phone numbers for when someone needs another person who understands what they’re going through.”

Yost said the surprises MS can bring can make for a “bumpy roller-coaster ride.”

“You can go a long time with the condition and then you may wake up one day with something — you might have a leg that doesn’t work,” she said. “In time, you come to accept your situation and learn to expect change. We call it an exacerbation, a setback. For progressive MSers, sometimes you don’t get that back.”