National Multiple Sclerosis Society program gives people with MS the tools, knowledge and confidence to make decisions about their needs, opportunities and rights.
What do you do? I work with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s MS Navigator program. Our goal is to give people with MS the tools, knowledge and confidence to make decisions about their needs, opportunities and rights in life with MS. In addition to providing direct social-work services to people impacted by MS, I also supervise our care-management program, which brings social workers into the homes of people with MS when extra help is needed.
How did you get started? I chose the National MS Society for my internship as a social-work student because so many people I love have been affected by chronic illness, and even by MS specifically. I stayed on to make my career here because I saw the impact my work was making every day. It’s so important to me that the Society’s mission supports the services that people living with MS need right now, while we continue to support research for a cure.
What’s a typical day like? On a typical day, I spend most of my time working with individuals and families to navigate the challenges of life with MS: how to pay for their MS-disease modifying drugs, staying on the job with MS, finding emotional support, how to support caregivers. When I’m not working directly with people living with MS, I’m collaborating with other staff and professionals in the community on advocacy, community outreach and raising awareness about MS.
What’s the best part of the job? The best part of my work is being reminded every day how very capable and resilient the people I work with are. I see people coping with a life-changing diagnosis, a confusing health care system, changes in careers and relationships — and doing it with honesty, humor and grace. When we can provide the right information, support, and encouragement, I see our clients take charge of their care, plan for the future and make a difference in their communities.
What surprises people about your work? Honestly, people are always surprised at the variety of concerns we can help address. They say: “Wait, you can help me figure out my insurance coverage, and plan for my care in the future, AND figure out how to talk to my family about this?!” I love being able to say, “Yes, whatever it is, we can help you figure it out!”
Most Read Stories
- Two WA restaurants make New York Times best-in-the-U.S. list
- Bellevue light-rail line isn't open yet, but something's already broken
- 8-foot-long white sturgeon washes up on Lake Washington shore
- Homelessness authority ends downtown Seattle initiative; layoffs to come
- Seattle is giving residents free snow shovels. Here's what to know
To get connected with an MS Navigator like Lara, call 800-344-4867 and select option 1.