Every March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, a time for sufferers, family members and supporters to share information, sympathy and camaraderie, drawing attention to this disease of the central nervous system. We touched on what multiple sclerosis (MS) is in our last newsletter when we introduced you to Jeffrey.
A diagnosis of MS is life-changing for anyone who receives it. MS is a disease that impacts the brain and spinal cord, which make up the central nervous system that controls everything we ask our bodies to do. The exact cause of MS is unknown, and receiving this diagnosis is usually a complete shock to those who are affected, as well as to their families and friends.
With approximately 2.5 million people worldwide suffering from MS, we are glad to be able to shine a light and be a support for those here in the valley. We’ve seen firsthand the positive impacts that equine therapy has on our participants with MS, and we’ve even shared a couple of those stories with you. But a few key and notable impacts we’ve seen are increased balance, strength and cognitive focus.
Equine therapy tends to ease multiple sclerosis symptoms by strengthening the body and mind of those who we see regularly. In the case of Jeffrey, we’ve seen dramatic, positive changes in his strength and balance in just the few short months he’s been riding with us. You can read his full story here (swiftsureranch.org), or refer back to the early January 2022 newsletter that we sent out. Not only do we notice those differences, but Jeffrey and his family have also noticed the increase of strength when it comes to his mobility as well as the mental clarity he has post-rides.
Another wonderful participant that you’ve likely had the opportunity to meet is Chris Deck. Chris was featured in our Cowboy Ball video this past year and is a true bright light around the ranch. Chris has also recently joined the board of directors here at the ranch and we’re truly grateful for her impact. Chris has been a participant at Swiftsure for many years now and while MS continues to progress, she works hard to maintain the strength she has built, the ability to walk and transport herself on a daily basis and surely enjoys “disconnecting” from her daily life and connecting to life on horseback. Chris has had a regular team of volunteers who show up weekly with her and we know without a doubt that the camaraderie built around her lessons has continued to make Chris the strong and independent lady that we all know today.
It seems that MS is an increasing disease in our valley, and while we’re saddened to hear that, we’re happy to serve. Knowing that the time each of our MS participants spends at the ranch is a positive and life-changing experience is just a slice of what keeps us doing what we do day in and day out.
If you are wondering how you can support those with MS, or how you can make a difference at the ranch, donate on our website (swiftsureranch.org). Know that your dollar makes a big impact in another life here locally.