Local teacher to discuss living with MS diagnosis

By Elyssa Parnell

January 29, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Living with multiple sclerosis hasn’t kept Jessica Beam from following through with her dreams.

Beam will share her experiences from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at One Day for Every Day, a free event at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel in Charlotte.

One Day for Every Day is geared to provide information and resources tailored especially for those living with MS, advocates for MS, or those that know someone or take care of someone with multiple sclerosis.

Beam, now 26, was diagnosed with MS at the age of 17. She said most diagnoses occur in women in their 20s and 30s. Although not as common, men can also be diagnosed with MS.

According to the local National MS Society chapter, there are over 17,000 people living with MS in the 97 counties of North Carolina and South Carolina.

Beam said symptoms of MS can vary but include fatigue, vision issues, muscle cramps, migraines, urinary tract infections, and issues with walking.

When she was diagnosed, Beam said it was scary and hard to accept.

“As time went on, I’ve learned and more about MS and have been able to connect with those that also have it,” Beam said. “It’s been an outlet for me to meet new people.”

Beam, who currently teaches sixth grade English-Language Arts at Newberry Middle School, said her experiences have also helped her to become more comfortable talking in front of people, which is one reason she was so passionate about speaking at this weekend’s conference.

The conference also will feature an expert panel, comprised of a neurologist, people with MS, and others as they discuss MS, treatment options, and answer questions. Those attending will also have the opportunity to join one of three different workshop sessions led by experts on relationships, communication, technology and other topics.

An MS health Fair will provide a chance to look at local organizations, companies, and support groups devoted to people living with MS. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for those in attendance.

For those that have also been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or received other medically disappointing news, Beam’s advice is for them to constantly have faith in themselves.

“When you get news such as that, you can feel devastated,” Beam said. “But you just do what is best for you, and you can overcome what is sent your way.”

To register for the conference or learn more about MS, visit Registration is needed to attend.

Elyssa Parnell may be reached at 803-276-0625, ext. 108.