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MS group offers helping hands


In the wake of the MS Society’s “carnation campaign” last week, it just may be the right time to plug the local MS Self-Help Group, headed by Gayle Arpin.

Active since January, 1998, the support group has flourished since then, drawing an average of 15-20 people at its monthly meeting.

“It’s the fastest-growing social group in town,” Arpin laughed yesterday.

Arpin was responsible for forming the group, and has since made sure it stays organized and up-to-date on matters.

“I really saw a need for it,” she noted. “After our first meeting, I made a list of goals and it’s really taken off from there.”

Also described as a focus group for those recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Arpin and other members share an accumulated wealth of books and videos that should prove helpful for those interested.

“We like to keep in touch [and] share ideas on things such as coping mechanisms--it’s great,” she said.

“We talk, laugh. We even had a potluck dinner at Christmas,” added Arpin, noting the group not only offered information but something equally important--friendship.

She also said the local group is associated with the MS chapter from Sudbury, allowing it to get all the latest news about MS-related issues from there.

Although most members of the group have been diagnosed with MS, spouses, relatives, and friends of those afflicted also are welcome at meetings.

In related news, the local MS Society, which deals more in the fundraising aspect of things, raised more than $5,000 from both donations and bouquet sales during its “carnation campaign” last week.

“It was excellent. It far exceeded my expectations,” organizer Diana Miller said yesterday.

“We sold close to 700 bouquets, and so far we’ve had no complaints about the flowers,” she added.

Proceeds from the campaign will go to patient needs and research in the MS field.

Meanwhile, those interested in finding out more about the local MS Self-Help Group can call Arpin at 274-7556.

The group’s next meeting is slated Thursday, May 20 at 10 a.m. at the day hospital at La Verendrye here.

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