Submitted by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
By Tina Deignan
Senior Vice President and US Business Unit Head for Immunology at Bristol Myers Squibb
Inspiration can come in many forms. Talking with and learning from the many people I meet who live with immune-mediated diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), is the best part of my job. This month is MS Awareness Month, which I always consider a time to step back and think about this disease that affects roughly 1 million people in the U.S.
As you may know, MS is a disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin, or sheath covering the nerves, disrupting communication between the brain and body. MS is a chronic condition that has a profound effect on a person’s life, although its impact is often invisible to others.
I unfortunately learned about MS up close at a young age, as my wonderful, kind and vibrant mother had the disease. We lost her to complications of MS when I was 15. I miss her every day, to this day, and losing her is what inspired me to pursue a career in immunology. My memory of her inspires me as I engage with and learn from the MS community now.
One of the things I have learned in recent years is how important it is to focus on addressing the needs of those living with chronic immune mediated diseases, beyond therapies, to help people live the lives they want despite their disease. It’s so important that people struggling with very serious diseases should get to be their unique, true selves. Understanding the experiences and perspectives of those living with MS is why we at Bristol Myers Squibb are so passionate about working across the MS community and identifying innovative ways we can provide meaningful resources to patients and their loved ones.
One of those resources is something we introduced one year ago this month, in partnership with the American Music Therapy Association: MS in Harmony, the first-of-its-kind digital musical therapy resource specifically tailored to the unique needs of people with MS. The program gives people with MS the opportunity to explore the potential power of music therapy in helping achieve mind-body harmony. Led by board certified music therapists, each interactive video caters to the unique needs of MS patients of all ability levels.
We also proudly support the many MS advocacy organizations that strive for positive change every day. Our collaboration with the advocacy community is paramount in pushing our collective knowledge of MS forward.
The efforts of the advocacy organizations that serve this community have the potential to help people with MS and their loved ones manage the burdens of the disease and provide hope for a better future. And what inspires me most is the resilience of the MS community and the honor it is to serve them.
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information, please visit www.bms.com or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bmsnews.
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