MOUNTAIN AREA — The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation estimates that more than 400,000 people in the United States are afflicted with MS, and about 2.5 million people around the world share the same condition.
Now, longtime area resident Chris Ferbrache is starting an MS group, with the goal of getting people together so they can support one another and work toward helping each other have a better life and overcome some of the obstacles that come with the disease.
Ferbrache was diagnosed with MS in his mid-twenties, when he was first working for Sierra Ambulance as an EMT. Among his symptoms were double vision and, as a result of the diagnosis of MS, Ferbrache left the business for a period until his vision cleared up. During his absence, Ferbrache went back to school and graduated with his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Fresno State. He eventually returned to Sierra Ambulance, where he is currently the operations manager.
“MS is an auto immune disease where your body attacks the covering of your nerves,” Ferbrache explains. “Over time I have talked to other people with MS and found that sometimes they didn’t know about things that I knew about. I figured it would be good to get people together to talk and share experiences, and it would be beneficial to everybody.”
Some of the common symptoms of MS include numbness, loss of sensation or nerve pain, and fatigue. Ferbrache says there are ways he prefers to manage these issues, including herbal supplements, for instance. Pain, numbness, tingling, and problems with mobility are all symptoms associated with MS, and from an emotional perspective, a positive group dynamic can lead to an overall improvement in health.
Recently, the wife of a good friend was diagnosed with MS, says Ferbrache. In talking with the couple, he realized that he has a wealth of knowledge and information to share, based on his 15-plus years dealing with the issues. That’s when he decided to put his plan of creating a support group into action.
The date for first meeting is Thursday, May 25 at 6 p.m. at the Sierra Ambulance classroom, located at 40755 Winding Way in Oakhurst.
It’s an informal first meeting, says Ferbrache, with the group getting to know each other and seeing what people want to talk about, and sharing helpful information. The group is open to people who want to know more about MS, or people who are taking care of someone with MS, or people who have MS themselves.
For more information contact Chris Ferbrache at MSAllianceofMaderaCounty@gmail.com