Do you currently care for a family member with a disability? Do you care for a family member with Multiple Sclerosis? In the United States, Multiple Sclerosis affects hundreds of thousands of people, as well as those who love and care for them. Right now there is no known cure and most people living with the disease had no prior recognizable risk factors. With the help of advocacy groups, concerned organizations and individuals the month of March has been designated as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month to help those who are impacted. This annual event is dedicated to increasing public education, advancing research, and supporting those in need.

What exactly is Multiple Sclerosis? Multiple Sclerosis is a disorder of the central nervous system that is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 50. MS damages or destroys the protective covering, known as myelin, surrounding the nerves of the central nervous system and causes reduced communication between the brain and nerve pathways. This destruction leads to a variety of health symptoms, including visual problems, overwhelming fatigue, difficulty with balance and coordination, and various levels of impaired mobility.

This March, look for orange ribbons with butterfly symbols. Orange is the official color of MS awareness, and the butterfly represents the shape commonly seen on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans of someone with MS. Would you like to know more about MS or show your support? Whether you are personally affected by MS, know someone with MS, have a loved one with MS or just want to get involved, there are a number of ways to show support, including:

1. Fundraising Events. Fundraising for MS research is not only critical, but it can also be fun. Look up Walk MS, Challenge Walk MS, and Bike MS, and search for exercise fundraising events near you.

2. Support and Attend Conferences and Meetings. MS-oriented conferences and meetings offer opportunities to learn and network with those who may be similarly impacted by the disease. Visit the NMSS Public Policy Conference website for more information, or the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers (CMSC) conference webpage.

3. Volunteer. There are lots of volunteer opportunities to serve the MS community. Get involved, get training, and find out where you can help in your local area.

4. Tell Everyone You Know. One of the easiest ways to participate in Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month is to help raise awareness online. Use social media hashtags like #ChangeALifeMSAA, or visit

5. Most Important is to Create an Estate Plan that Considers Special Needs. Do you need to create an estate plan to help your child who has MS? Whether it is now or in the future your loved one may need more help due to this condition. Helping them create an estate plan that considers these future needs or designing your own plan in a way that can help them in the future is an important action to take sooner rather than later. Do you have MS and need an estate plan? As soon as possible, contact a Wisconsin estate planning attorney who can help you discuss these issues and get the support you need.

The support of loved ones, care partners, and participating Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month organizations is vital to improving the quality of life for those living with the disease. Contact an experienced Wisconsin estate planning attorney if you or someone you know has any legal questions surrounding MS.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. We want to help you protect beloved seniors in your life with these helpful tips this March. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum today.