International MS Youth Network

Our solution »»»

The problem: Young people with MS don't feel supported and represented by existing, traditional MS organizations

Imagine being 25 years old and already in a wheelchair. Or imagine being 15 or 20 years old and thinking you be in a wheelchair next year, or perhaps the following one.

Do you tell your friends about your MS? Do you tell your boyfriend or girlfriend? How? And how will they look at you if they knew?

Now imagine you have nowhere to turn for advice and help. Imagine you struggle all alone, not only with your disease today, but also with how your MS will impact those around you, and what will happen to you tomorrow.

This is the situation of most young people with MS. And there are more of them than you think: at this age MS is most of the time hidden. Some of them are around you, they are your friends.

During our 2010 mission we met many young people with MS, and realized that they are even more alone than others. They cannot relay with existing MS organizations, generally run by and focused on older people with MS. They cannot find answers to the the different set of problems they are facing. They don't know even whether to talk about their MS and how.

"I don't want to be in a wheelchair. I don't want to go blind."

Watch Tricia's extremely emotional clip, already seen by 127,000 people

Tricia was 24 years old and a new mother when MS struck her.

The solution: Create an international network of young people with MS lead by active young MS advocates

One of the unexpected results of our 2010 mission was meeting several young people with MS that are very active and effective MS advocates.

They are the exception, as they have the courage to speak publicly about their MS, and are trying to help others. They are very creative, and each uses a different method of expression, from writing a book to singing, from video-blogging to photography. And, like most young people, they are versed in using social media and getting their message heard.

However, their impact is much below it potential. They each act alone, mostly using one channel of communication, and reach a much more limited audience that they could.

We are working with the MSIF on setting up a network to put together these young minds and hearts, and help them exponentially increase their impact by providing them with the missing tools and knowledge. They will constitute the core of an organization within each young people with MS worldwide will feel at home.

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One example of the excellent advocacy of young MS-ers

"I can't eat without putting half of the food on me"

Lauren, 26, was struck by MS when she was just 16. Below, she films herself during the most debilitating phase of MS, a relapse, to help others deal with the disease.

This very moving video alone has been seen by over 30,000 people. Lauren has been one of our earliest supporters.