The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA), in partnership with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Emmy Award-winning television personality and multiple sclerosis (MS) advocate Montel Williams, announced today the launch of My MS Second Act.

The educational program aims to improve awareness about MS disease progression and secondary-progressive MS (SPMS) and underscores the need for early symptom identification.

SPMS is an advanced form of MS characterized by progressive and irreversible neurological disability. MS affects approximately 2.3 million people worldwide, with SPMS impacting up to 80% of those with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), the most common form of MS at diagnosis, over time.

My MS Second Act kicks off today with a powerful storytelling event hosted by Montel Williams and organized in partnership with The Moth, a non-profit organization dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. After Montel takes the stage to share his own journey living with MS, three people with MS, who have been working with The Moth to craft their stories, will share their experiences before a live audience.

“As someone who had reported on the stories of others for years, I know how powerful they can be and the importance of being your own advocate,” said Montel Williams. “I understand first-hand the way MS affects how you think and the way you live, particularly when the disease progresses. I have learned through my personal journey that you own your narrative. That’s why I’m excited about the My MS Second Act program and joining hands with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and MSAA to help other people with MS own their narrative.”

The My MS Second Act program will equip people living with MS to be more proactive about noticing signs of disease progression and speaking confidently with their doctors and loved ones about their MS symptoms as they advance.

“Multiple sclerosis can be a very isolating disease so the need to connect with others is especially critical for the MS community,” said Amanda Montague, Vice President of Education and Healthcare Relations, MSAA. “We encourage those living with MS to recognize their MS progression and use the My MS Second Act storytelling toolkit to share their stories, have more meaningful conversations with their healthcare providers and inspire others living with MS to do the same.”

“Novartis has a longstanding commitment to people living with MS and that includes looking beyond treatments to other aspects of their patient journey and what affects their quality of life,” said Leverne Marsh, Vice President of US Neuroscience Franchise, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. “We are honored to collaborate with MSAA and Montel Williams to provide an important resource and help empower those with MS to speak proactively about their progression.”

Visit TalkSPMS on Facebook to share your personal story about living with progressing MS, including SPMS, and MyMSAA.org to download the My MS Second Act digital storytelling tool kit.

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