Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Develop, Develop, Develop!

Develop, Develop, Develop!
MSF Ambassador Nick Marchesani was diagnosed with MS in 2000 and is the Support Group Leader of the Multiple Strengths Sussex County MS Support Group. He recently completed his Zumba Certification and was awarded the Social Responsibility Award by the Sussex County YMCA.  Nick recently shared a few words with us that we wanted to share with you. Visit the Multiple Strengths website at

The Rule for Today: "Develop, Develop, Develop!"
- Always reinvent yourself. Never go stale and always go for the challenge.

I always put myself in situations that I am the student. Why? There's so much to learn from others. Personally, my achievements are always for myself. If and when I can help out others, I'll drop what I am doing and get my hands dirty and focus on to 'Develop, Develop, Develop!"
- Never, ever, ever, feel 'stupid' while learning.

Learn to enjoy it and smile. There are plenty of people who care and will take a couple of minutes to critique what you plan on doing. I personally LOVE the feedback. Make sure to listen to the feedback. Always remember feedback is 'tough love.' The truth may hurt, but the truth will help you to "Develop, Develop, Develop!"

- Goals are never impossible.

I remember back in 2005, I started developing stiffness in my legs which led to my inability to run. And in 2009, I was seriously looking at using a cane for the rest of my life. I lost muscle and gained weight. It seemed as if I was spiraling down to the point of no return. Everything I once did was out of reach. In 2010 while speaking to a crowd of over 1,000 people at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ as the 2010 NMSS Walk Ambassador, I vowed that I would run a 5 mile race once again. Today, I am set toward that personal goal.

A person with MS for 13 years becoming a Zumba Instructor? It happened. I did it. That certificate alone holds gold in my heart. And if I never ever run my own class...oh, well! It's that goal I achieved. It's all about self-pride. I did it. Nothing is impossible.
- What you think will happen, if you let it.

I'm not talking about missing a payment on your credit card or misplacing your car keys. I'm talking about what you love to do. There are ways of making those dreams reality. It's all about looking deep inside yourself and connecting with positivity. There's more than one way to achieve a goal. And I love it when I accomplish something. Everything that I think about doing, I focus on how I can maintain that goal. I constantly review how it gets done. It’s like a never ending movie in my mind. I look at each way - how I can fail, how I can succeed, what if I run into a jam, and how can I get out of it. This goes on over and over and over again in my mind. I'll then try a little, stop, and then try again. There will be times that I'll try until I cannot move anymore. That's when I'll learn my limits and how I can adjust to succeed. It's all in us, at different degrees. All of which are the correct way to "Develop, Develop, Develop!"
- Developing does not end at any age, inability, or disability.

Keep doing what you love. Do not listen to skepticism. It's usually backed by the fear of the unknown. Whenever I speak to doctors and neurologists about my abilities, I always hear to keep doing what I am doing. Believe me when I tell you that even people with college degrees, BAs, etc., do not have answers to the questions I ask. I always hear the blanket statement, ‘Keep doing what you are doing.’ So, I'll keep writing and rewriting 'the book.' In my case it's, 'The Book on Multiple Sclerosis.' No one knows the ending of their personal book. But when we all continue each day writing pages and chapters in our lives, make sure it's interesting, fun, and the way you want it to end.

God Bless!

-Nick Marchesani

Friday, January 4, 2013

In Memory of Helen Mangan

We are deeply sorry to announce the loss of a passionate advocate for the MS community. Helen Mangan, MSF’s Associate Director of Support Groups and Outreach has passed away.  Since 1995, Helen had worked tirelessly to provide support for people with MS and their families.

Helen wholeheartedly believed in the power of support groups to give people the strength to battle multiple sclerosis. Over 17 years with the MSF, she nurtured the growth of the MSF’s Support Group Program from a dozen scattered groups in 1996 to a nationwide network of nearly 150 thriving groups today. Helen’s vision of a support group as a positive, enriching part of life for people with MS helped nourish a movement away from support groups as ‘pity parties’ and toward groups that serve to provide a sense of community and camaraderie.

Over the years, thousands of people with MS and caregivers came to know Helen and to count her as a friend. Her energy, determination, and compassion were an inspiration. Her passing is a loss to the entire MS community.

Helen’s first priority was serving the needs of the groups she assisted, so the MSF will continue to be there for the support group leaders, co-leaders and members who meant so much to her. MSF’s Lead Caseworker Crystal Milligan will be stepping in to keep Helen’s legacy thriving.

Those who would like to share their memories and positive recollections about Helen can email them to or post them on  Some of these will be included in articles in tribute to Helen in the MSF’s publications.  All these happy memories will be collected and presented to Helen’s family with the love and sympathy of the MS community.