Multiple sclerosis center helps those with an incurable disease

If you Google, “multiple sclerosis,” you will find thousands of articles about drug trials, experimental stem cell transplants and endless research.

But, there is no cure or even a known cause. More than 2,000 of our neighbors in Southwest Florida have multiple sclerosis.

There is a unique center that helps people with the devastating disease. Inside this 24,000 square foot building off of Bonita Beach Rd., a fitness class is underway with a focus on balance.

Ann Oswald has been living with multiple sclerosis for 25-years.

“I was an aerobic instructor and all of a sudden I was losing my eyesight,” Oswald said. “I was diagnosed by the eye guy in the mall. After the third visit he said, you should really go get yourself a good physical, because this is optic neurosis which 95 percent of the time is multiple sclerosis.”

Multiple sclerosis attacks the central nervous system. It can lead to a range of problems, such as vision, mobility and speech.

“There are days when my friends say can you repeat that because I evidently am slurring,”¬†Oswald said. “I can’t tell I”m slurring, but evidently I’m slurring my words.”

As the disease progresses, many people lose the ability to walk or partake in regular activities without help.

The Multiple Sclerosis Center of Southwest Florida provides many services, including acupuncture, massages, counseling and the balance class where Oswald is a participant.

It’s all to help people with this demanding disease manage their symptoms.

The center registers about five new people each month. But organization mostly survives on donations to provide its free services. Its annual, Night of a Thousand Wines Gala, is coming up March 10 with proceeds directed towards the center’s scrupulous mission.


Reporter:Amanda Hall
Writer:Michael Mora