MS Activist and National MS Society Michigan Chapter Trustee Lisa McRipley is sponsoring M² S² – the Inaugural Mighty Multiple Sclerosis Slide: A Hustle-a-thon to Help End MS, a fundraiser to help raise awareness and funds for Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Friday, April 22, 2022. MS, which was once thought of as a “white woman’s disease,” is impacting the African American community. According to Brain and Life.org, information about who is affected by MS has been upended in recent years by studies pointing to a higher incidence of the disorder in Black people compared with White people. “These studies suggest that the risk of developing MS is up to 47 percent higher in Black women compared with White men or women, and the incidence of MS is at least as high in Black men as among their White counterparts,” says Mitzi Joi Williams, MD, founder and CEO of Joi Life Wellness Group Multiple Sclerosis Center in Atlanta. “The old notion that MS is a young White woman’s disease continues to affect how soon Black people are diagnosed and how they are treated.” Luckily more awareness and attention is being paid to MS and it’s impact on African Americans, thanks to the work of McRipley and other MS activists.
In September 2020, McRipley worked with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan to bring her story about the high cost of MS medication to Congress, raising awareness about MS’s impact on African Americans, the need for more research and the need for affordable treatments including prescriptions.
The co-organizer of the National MS Society Black MS Experience Summit and recipient of a 2020 MS Inspiration Award from the National Sclerosis Society for her work in this area recently announced M² S² – the Inaugural Mighty Multiple Sclerosis Slide: A Hustle-a-thon to Help End MS at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Detroit Downtown – Fort Shelby on April 22, 2022, 8 – 11 PM.
McRipley isn’t only an MS activist; she is someone who lives with MS. Fifteen years ago, McRipley received her dream job in Student Affairs at UC Berkeley working to develop a sense of community and inclusion for all students. Two months later, she fell for no apparent reason and couldn’t walk for several minutes. Days later, she fell again, and it became a pattern. After three years of doctors, specialists, and tests, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Eventually, Lisa moved back home to Michigan; she reached out to the National MS Society and became hopeful – then active! She also found that as a former student of dance, whenever she heard good music she danced and forgot about her MS.
McRipley’s love of dance led to her sponsorship of M² S² – the Inaugural Mighty Multiple Sclerosis Slide: A Hustle-a-thon to Help End MS, a fundraiser to support the nearly one million people who live with MS in the United States to, “Celebrate the MS Warrior in them!” McRipley, who danced for 10 years and was on the Pom Pom squad as a teen, has created a dance that is accessible to those living with MS. Watch the video for the routine here:
McRipley, who began volunteering at MS organizations after receiving her MS diagnosis, has dedicated her life to raising awareness about MS and keeping African Americans living with MS in the discussion.
McRipley doesn’t plan to stop dancing or raising the roof while raising awareness on the need for more research and advocacy for those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
For more information about this event or to make a donation, please visit https://mssociety.donordrive.com/participant/M2S2. You can also be a Virtual MS Slider and post your best #mightyMSslide at https://fb.me/e/2mSDmfYJR to be eligible for a special prize.
This article was written by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of the award-winning news site The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.