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Someone to Listen

Teresa Ford was scared. Her vision was bad. Her balance was worse. Her future was… well, she didn’t really know what the future held. That’s what scared her the most. And it seemed no one understood what she was going through.

Peer SupportBut Marcella Pierce knew just how she felt. And she was just a phone call away. Through the Chapter’s peer support program, called “Someone to Listen,” Teresa and Marcella made the perfect match. Now, they talk several times a month for a half-hour or so about anything and everything related to life with MS.

“You go through all kinds of ups and downs with your MS and I’m glad I’ve got someone who’s there for me,” says Teresa.

Marcella, who lives in Concrete and was diagnosed with MS in 1991, volunteered to go through a training course - also conducted over the phone - to learn how to listen in a caring, supportive and nonjudgmental manner. Peers are supervised regularly by a mental health professional and are matched to people with MS who share similar interests, experiences or lifestyles.

Teresa, who lives in Yakima and was diagnosed 18 months ago, learned about Someone to Listen from the Chapter’s website. The program was a godsend to the wife and mother of three who was feeling isolated and depressed.

“It’s an awesome program and Marcella is an awesome woman,” she says. “The peers aren’t there to pass judgment, just to help. I couldn’t recommend the program more highly. It will make your life so much easier.”

For Marcella, the program gives her a chance to help others and to use some of the same skills she learned as a 9-1-1 operator, a job she was forced to give up when her MS worsened.

“It’s so gratifying when I can hear people go from being really sad to feeling so much better about themselves and the future,” Marcella notes. “I let them know that there is hope there. They are not by themselves. And we’re here to listen.”

Someone to Listen
If you’re interested in being a peer or in being connected to a peer for support, contact Emily Edmiston at the Greater Washington Chapter: 1-800-344-4867, press option 2 and extension 243.

 

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