Bayer Schering Pharma Starts Global Awareness Campaign – Mastering MS –to Provide Hope for People in Meeting the Daily Challenges of Multiple Sclerosis
International survey reveals most people with multiple sclerosis worry about the future
Copenhagen, May 2008 – The results of an international survey presented by Bayer Schering Pharma shows that many people face the same fears and concerns when they are first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). In the survey, 71 percent of people with MS had at least one concern about how the disease would affect their relationships; 64 percent said being diagnosed had a negative impact on their career. To address these concerns, Bayer Schering Pharma launched Mastering MS today. This global public awareness program provides insight into the lives of people with MS, offering tools and expert advice that can help anyone facing a chronic disease lead a physically and emotionally fulfilling life.
Mastering MS highlights inspirational stories of people who have mastered living with MS whether as a spouse, parent, child, friend or co-worker, like 36-year old Dane Betina.
Betina was studying to be an auxiliary nurse when she began having difficulty seeing. For more than a month, she could only make out silhouettes. Like most people with MS, Betina feared how the disease would change her life, and worried that the people around her would no longer see her as a vibrant, active young woman.
Seven years later, Betina has refused to give up. “I want people to see me as Betina, not as a disease. A lot of people have diseases but they manage to do things anyway. I have proven to others, and most of all myself that I can manage my MS, have a full-time job and spend time with my family and friends,” said Betina, whose sight was completely restored after starting treatment. “ Even though I have a disease that can’t be cured, it doesn’t hold me back now. Looking back, I would not change anything. It has been rough - a lot of hard work, sweat and tears - but it has been worth it.”
The program also features expert advice from Denise Knowles, a certified relationship counselor from the United Kingdom, as well as Michele Wahlder, a career coach and licensed psychotherapist, on how to keep personal and work relationships strong while coping with a chronic disease.
“It’s not uncommon for people first diagnosed with MS to experience feelings of confusion and uncertainty,” said Denise Knowles. “Like Betina, people with MS may worry that others will treat them differently, that they’ll lose their job, or simply that they’ll no longer be able to hold their children or grandchildren. These concerns are perfectly normal. With some creative approaches, relationships with family, friends and co-workers can continue to be a great source of comfort and joy for a person coping with MS. This might include planning in advance for social activities, seeking outside support to help a spouse or children cope with the diagnosis, or asking for accommodations like shift changes or different software on the job to make working easier.”
“For people living with MS, the good news is that research shows starting treatment with interferon beta early may delay the development of disability. Along with an effective treatment, it is equally important to help patients find ways to cope psychologically with the disease,” said Dr. Karl Baum, Chief of Neurology, Hennigsdorf Clinic, Hennigsdorf, Germany. “That is why I welcome programs such as Mastering MS for my patients. Mastering MS helps people understand how MS affects their physical and emotional lives, and provides them with the resources needed to give them a sense of hope about the future.”
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.
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