Angela + Jerry = Sweetie pies!
OK – Let’s begin, my dear! When were you diagnosed & how has MS affected you?I’m am the oldest of 4 siblings & live in Bourg, Louisiana. I’m the only one in my family with multiple sclerosis.
I was diagnosed when I was 38 years old February 8, 2008. MS has affected me and the things I used to be able to do. I used to love the sun, fishing, crabbing, and the beaches. Now that I’m heat intolerant, a lot has changed.
Where did you go to seek support?
Hmmm, where did I go for support? My first few years after my diagnosis, I had no where to go. I didn’t even know they had support groups online until about 3 years ago. I’ve learned so much since then.
How did you find out about MSpals & when did you join?
Before I knew there were actually MS support groups online I just read various multiple sclerosis magazines. Actually, I remember one day when I was at work as a hall monitor & classroom monitor for state wide testing. I was just flipping through some magazines and came across MSpals as an actual community of support groups online. That’s what got me started in the MSpals groups on FaceBook. I had tried out some different groups too, but nothing stuck with me quite like MSpals has. It’s been 2-3 years (maybe longer) that I’ve been a part of MSpals. There are no local MS groups in my area for me to meet others in person.
How has the experience of being a member been for you? What were you searching for?
My experience with MSpals has taught me a lot of information! So many things I didn’t know existed. When I was diagnosed with MS I honestly had no idea what it was. This group has taught me so much and am still learning from others and from additional research.
PROS & CONS:
What do you feel are the top benefits are about joining online support groups?
What do you consider to be a negative (deterrents) regarding online groups?
Pros: Well, these groups are great IF you explore what’s out there & can find the best one to suit you! MSpals stuck to me like glue. I’m not in many other groups…just MSpals.
Cons: I don’t see any negatives or downside of interacting in online support groups. When you don’t have any peers, meetings, or nothing else available for support in your local areas, then it’s great to have a place to be – even if it’s just online.
Which groups do you or have you been involved with? In which one(s) did you feel most at home & why?
How many groups…hmmm, well I’m still a member of all the MSpals groups on Facebook, except for some of the regional/state groups. I was in other groups when I first started…maybe 5 or 6, but when I first started going online a couple years ago, the only group affiliated with MSpals was the main (global) group. Now, there are several special interest groups offered by MSpals – all are available on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, & of course, the website, which just launched this past fall. Currently, my favorite groups are MSpals: Women’s Only and MSpals: Foodies.
Has your circle of friends grown from your online connections, or has there been anyone in particular who has stood out? Is there anyone in particular who has made an impact on your life – as a friend or otherwise? If so, how has this altered your mindset or mood?
Yes!!! My circle of friends has grown a lot. When I was first diagnosed, I definitely lost a lot of friends I had. Now I have almost 900 friends. We all have good days and bad days. Carolyn Palmer is a co-founder of MSpals & she has made a big impact on my life…not just as a great friend, but as the big sister I never had. She makes me feel appreciated & comforted.
How & when did you become an admin for MSpals Women’s?
I became administrator for women July of 2016. Mary Pettigrew and Carolyn Palmer (the co-founders of MSpals) asked me if I would like to take over the women’s group. It had approximately 457 members at the time & now we are almost up to 900. I love it! Becoming an administrator for that group has made a big impact on my life in so many ways. I love all the ladies in the group. They are all awesome.
What was the desire, the reason you wanted to take on a role as admin?
When I first became an administrator, I wanted to get to know as many women as I could. I reached out & tagged every single woman we had in the group to ask how they are doing. I think it’s really made a difference for the members there to see someone pay attention to them on a regular basis. There have been several great compliments, and they really appreciated me checking in on them. That first week was a very busy week, but I love it & I love getting to know everyone & helping them with support. In fact, I soon realized by my reaching out to others, it also helped me feel better & was able to learn so much more about myself.
What did you know about technology or administrative duties back then vs. what do you know now?
(Giggles)! Technology or other administrative duties back then were a challenge, but I never quit! I know much more now than I knew when I first started with the group…and I am still learning every day. I think we’re all still learning every day!
What is the most important learning lesson(s) or experiences you’ve had in the group & how has it affected you?
There are several impactful experiences, but the most important learning lessons would have to be:
- Everyone’s MS is different! Rarely are there any two alike! This has helped me learn about how MS affects everyone in a different way.
- The most fulfilling aspect of being a part of the MSpals team as an administrator is knowing I make a difference in someone’s life.
As you mentioned, your membership has grown from 400 – 900 in 9 months with you in place as an admin – MORE than doubled! You should be quite proud! What factor(s) do you think are the reason your membership growth continues to rise?
Yes, membership has picked up since I was brought on as an administrator. I think it all has to do with teamwork. You must work together as a group, not just as one.
What dreams do you have…what goals or new activities would you like to attempt…
New dreams and goals pop up daily. Carolyn and I created a video featuring all the beautiful faces of MS Women. This brought a bunch of new faces together. Here’s the video link to view it!
#BeautifulFacesOfMS #MSAwarenessMonthFrom MSpals Women- Only
Posted by MS information on Monday, March 13, 2017
Despite your MS, or in spite of your MS, what are you most passionate about? What motivates you & keeps you interested?
My passion is the MSpals women’s group & coming up with new ideas. What keeps me motivated is to know the love I share with these ladies is shared in return…and THAT keeps me passionate & interested.
Lastly, what are your plans & what do you look forward to doing or being a part of in the future?
My future… I will take it day by day with new thoughts & dreams which just pop up as the days goes by. MSpals Women’s Group rocks my world…it keeps me moving!!
I have had great teachers, i.e., Carolyn and Mary.