April is the month for Multiple Sclerosis fundraisers. On Sunday, April 15, there will be a barbecue at High Plains Brewing. That event is from 1:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Then, Walk MS will be on Saturday, April 28, starting at 9:00 a.m at St. John's Pavilion.
KULR-8 spoke with an MS patient, as well as, a doctor who has been working with Billings MS patients for the last five years. Kelly Klein was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis on Mother's Day 2014. She said the disease hit her hard and that she knew something was wrong. "I think I had symptoms before but I didn't know what it was. And when I was diagnosed in 2014, it totally made me go numb. I was in the hospital for 5 days. I was diagnosed pretty quickly with MRI and a spinal tap," Klein explained. While people who have Multiple Sclerosis feel the physical pain, their family members and friends can also feel effects from the debilitating disease. "I had two kids in school at the time, so there were a lot of events and things like that, that I couldn't attend."
There may not be a cure for Multiple Sclerosis just yet, but researchers have made great strides in fighting the disease and helping those affected. "Fortunately now, there are a lot of treatments that get really close to a cure, depending on what definition you use of 'cure' for MS," said Dr. Kris French.
Dr. French told KULR-8, the incidents and prevalence of MS tends to be higher in certain areas. "In Montana, it's roughly about 1 in every 250 people in terms of new incidents. The prevalence is similar to that actually, it's probably even higher than what people know. But, it seems even the prevalence is going up a little bit but Montana is one of those states where it is far enough from the equator in northern latitudes, that we kind of have those higher incidents of MS compared to other places."
Multiple Sclerosis can have different impacts on individuals. Some people see disabilities happen sooner, while others do not become disabled for years. For Klein, MS causes her to take more naps and to miss out on some things, but she explained she lives a normal life. "I'm very lucky in that way that the disease has not progressed to cause me to be disabled to where I can't do things. I can still go and enjoy life, just in a different way."