PELL CITY -- A support group for people and families dealing with multiple sclerosis is looking to help more in the community.
Kimberly Sanders started the group in July 2019, and she said she wants to see it grow.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, where cells within the body’s immune system attack myelin, the sheath around nerve fibers, along with those nerve fibers underneath, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
The symptoms can vary from person to person, and the cause is unknown, but in general, it causes damage to the central nervous system that can lead to numbness, blurred vision, fatigue and even depression.
Sanders said those last two symptoms are the main focus of her support group. She explained that often, people suffering from MS suffer from mood changes that can be difficult to deal with.
These changes can even affect those around them, which Sanders said she has seen firsthand.
Sanders said MS caused her engagement to fall apart after she was diagnosed in 2013.
“I didn’t feel like I had a support structure,” she said.
Following this, she looked for a support group, but the closest one she could find was in Anniston.
Sanders said that wasn't really an option for her because she lacks transportation. She decided others may have the same issue and she wanted to provide a support structure for those who may need it.
“I want people to know we are right there in Pell City,” she said. “We are right there for them”
Sanders also wants family and friends of those dealing with MS to be able to attend meetings. She wants them to better understand what their loved ones are going through -- and deal with their own feelings.
“We try to say to the family, it's nothing about you, it's just what we are going through,“ she said
Sanders said she hopes the group will begin to grow, but even if it doesn’t, she has no plans to give up.
“I’m very passionate about what I am doing,” she said.
She even has plans to continue her support for others suffering with MS.
“In the summer, I want to have a walk-a-thon to raise money,” she said.
Sanders’ support group meets the third Tuesday of each month from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The next meeting will be Jan. 21 at the Pell City Public Library and will cover the topic of intimacy and MS.
For more information, call Sanders at 256-375-8946 or email Kimberlysan0229@gmail.com.