January 03, 2022
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Kathy’s goal as the Bezzy MS guide is to offer positive support to the community and help you find your people.
When Kathy Reagan Young received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2008, she was a stay-at-home mom.
“My doctor who diagnosed me said, ‘It’s good that you’re a stay-at-home mom. Don’t ever work because stress is the very worst thing for MS,’ which told me he had never stayed home with children because nothing has been more stressful in my life,” says Kathy, with a laugh.
“When the doctor said that — this is part of my personality — what I heard was, ‘Go to work as soon as possible and work a lot.'”
So for 2 years, that’s what she did.
“I loved it, but it did get to be too much,” she admits. “The final straw was when I realized one day that I could not discern between the gas pedal and the brake pedal… so I pulled over and that was my last day of employment for someone else.”
But Kathy didn’t want to give up on work altogether.
“My paychecks quit coming in, but my bills didn’t,” she says.
So she looked for a job she could do from home, which, pre-COVID-19, wasn’t a lot. She did have one option: her blog, FUMSnow, which she’d started in 2011 because she’d felt like there wasn’t a lot of information about MS that wasn’t terrifying.
For example, she attended a support group and a fundraiser, but she found both to be negative and depressing. They left her feeling disempowered instead of empowered to keep living her life.
“I really started [my blog] just to share my journey,” she says. “The reality of MS is that it is a life sentence, but it’s not a death sentence, so I just wanted to share that there’s lots of life after this.”
She’d already started a podcast as an extension of the blog, so all she had to do now was build on it and support herself through her work as a patient advocate.
And not long after, Healthline, Bezzy’s sister site, reached out to see if she was interested in being a part of its MS Healthline peer-support community. Soon after, she became the community guide — and she never looked back.
Today, Kathy is proud to serve as your guide in the all-new Bezzy MS community, where she moderates conversations, offers support, and leads live discussions.
“What I love about these online communities is that they typically have various spaces — or forums — and you can find your people there,” she says.
“It’s a really nice opportunity to find your people and ask questions and not be embarrassed. You can gain information, inspiration, motivation, whatever you need — it’s all there.”
Kathy says she takes great responsibility in her role as the MS guide, being there for people and helping them find their community so that they too can feel more positive, despite living with MS.
“Hopefully, that can make it even just a smidge easier,” she says.
Whether you have a new diagnosis or you’ve been navigating life with MS for years, Kathy and so many other amazing Bezzy MS community members are here for you.
“The first thing I say to someone newly diagnosed is: breathe,” says Kathy. “It is likely not going to be nearly as bad as you’re envisioning it right now. And there’s no better time to have gotten a diagnosis of MS than right now — there’s so much research going on that is very promising.”
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