Support from my 8-year-old

See the different ways an 8-year-old supports his family living with MS


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My son Jacob is an 8-year-old who attends a great charter school in our area. He loves playing baseball and is a die-hard football fan. Jacob likes telling jokes, has 2 pet cats, and a fish named Shadow. Most important, Jacob is very supportive of his mother and her multiple sclerosis (MS). He is always looking for ways that he can help her out.

When I told Jacob I was writing an article for Above MS, he really wanted to help. He told me he had his own ways of helping his mom and asked if he could provide some of his own tips to help other families, parents, and especially kids. So here are the tips Jacob wants to share with you.

If someone in your family has MS:

  • Be willing to help. Sometimes just keeping Jacob’s mom cool in the summer by getting her a fan or spraying her with the hose makes a big difference in her ability to be outdoors with us. Often, Jacob will get items for his mom when she is having a “low-energy day.” This is a major help since we have a two-story house, and the stairs seem like they are miles long at times when she is fatigued 
  • Pitch in when you can. Jacob is great about knowing that he needs to pick up after himself. This can be putting dishes in the sink or putting his clothes in the laundry basket. All of these things take a few seconds for Jacob to complete, but are a tremendous help for his mom
  • Keep them smiling. Jacob likes to tell jokes or set up pranks when he knows his mom is feeling bad or is feeling frustrated with her symptoms. Once, a perfectly placed whoopee cushion was all it took to brighten his mom’s outlook. Other times, a basic knock-knock joke or a funny television show does the trick to lighten the mood and make the day more enjoyable
  • Get involved in the MS community. My son rarely misses an opportunity to volunteer for local fundraising events for MS. Even at the age of 8, he understands the importance of research to find a cure for the disease. This year, he volunteered at a rest stop for a local MS bike ride. In the past, he has participated in Walk MS events
  • Know that little moments can have big results. Many times, all that my son can give to my wife are hugs and snuggles on the sofa during a hard day. Sometimes, that is the only thing she needs 

If you’re a parent who has MS:

  • Explain everything to your family so they understand what is going on with your MS
  • Let your family be involved in your care and helping out
  • If you need help, don't be afraid to ask. We know more about what’s going on than you think we do, and we want to help

If you have a parent with MS and want to help:

  • Be patient. Moms and dads sometimes take longer when they have MS
  • Make time. It only takes a second to help out
  • Be a good listener. They listen to us, so we need to listen to them
  • Make them laugh if you can. Laughing can make people feel better

Jacob is great with doing everything he can to be a good kid and a great supporter of his mom. When asked what message he wants people to get from this, he said, “Tell your kid that you have MS. It might scare them a little, but it will be OK. Also, kids like helping since parents help us with things.”



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