Be the Change: Managing MS

A local man is spreading a message of hope to people struggling with multiple sclerosis.
He says you can't let it hinder your lifestyle - and he knows that firsthand.

For ten years, Jonathan Englund has been working through his battle with multiple sclerosis.
A college student at the time - life got hard when he got the initial diagnosis.

Jonathan Englund, who has MS says, "It took awhile to finally just be like this isn't what I want to be. I don't want to go home and sit on the couch and just be there."
But a support group helped him see the light.
Englund says, "I got to see people who were doing well."
Now a little more than a decade later - the 35-year-old wants to help others find support with their difficult diagnosis.
After moving to Spearfish a few years back - he had a hard time finding a group that fit with his full-time work schedule.
So he started an evening support group in Sturgis - where no multiple sclerosis group existed at the time.
Englund says, "I thought this is an opportunity for not only those that work during the day, but those that live in Sturgis and it's close."
Meeting the second Wednesday of every month - Englund and his counterparts are a listening ear for anyone.
Englund says, "If somebody wants to come in, they have that option. If they want to talk about what's going on -- great. If you don't, that's fine too. We'll find something to talk about."
Part of the discussion - what works for everyone's various symptoms.
Englund says, "In the United States, there's roughly 400 thousand people with MS. I have yet to meet anybody that's got the exact same symptoms as I do."
Though they are different - they may be similar enough that they can find common ground.
For Englund, fatigue and balance are his biggest challenges. But he doesn't let that stop him.
Englund says, "I do pretty much everything I did before -- I just adapt."
Englund helps out the MS community in a number of ways - by talking part in the MS Walk - and attending various events supporting the disease throughout the Black Hills.
Just as his first support group did for him - he hopes to bring positivity to people's lives - and inspire them to do all they can, despite their multiple sclerosis.
Englund says, "You do what you can. Just because I have MS or others have MS -- doesn't mean they're going to die young. Actually you can live a full life."

There are other MS support groups as well - one in Spearfish and another in Rapid City.