Ellecia's Story: The National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Ellecia Chapman’s first year teaching, 2011, turned out to be a milestone in more than one way—Ellecia was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

She took some time to digest the diagnosis, then, a year later, Ellecia helped found a Walk MS® team, Team Mighty Strong, with friends. “We get bigger every year,” she says. She also oversees an annual “Jeans Day” at her school, where everyone pays a dollar to wear jeans and an orange shirt, as well as a bowling event that she founded last year.

“I feel like recently a lot of African American women have been getting MS,” she says. “My friends call me saying, ‘I need you to talk to someone.’ So I have become an advocate for women who are newly diagnosed.” Chapman remembers in particular visiting one woman who was in the hospital and “scared.” Now, the same woman is participating in Walk MS.

“It’s just a new adventure you’re going to have to deal with,” says Chapman. “There’s a whole community. You’re never alone.”

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