- Education & Tips
- November 6, 2023
Support and Solace: The Role of MS Navigators in Your MS Journey
With all the challenges of living with multiple sclerosis, having a source of guidance to help navigate the disease can make a world of difference.
Enter the MS Knowledge Network, MS Canada’s hub of knowledge, providing consistent, quality MS information and support for anyone in Canada. Whether you’re living with the disease, working with or caring for someone with MS, being able to tap into current, reliable information will enable you to make informed choices. Staffed by trained MS Navigators and available in both official languages, the Knowledge Network provides access to consistent, reliable information and supports needed to navigate life with MS.
Meet Julie, an MS Navigator helping our MS community since 2022. While relatively new to the role, Julie embodies a deep-rooted commitment to supporting and empowering people affected by MS.
Q: How long have you been part of the MS Knowledge Network as an MS Navigator? What made you interested in this position?
A: “I've been honored to assist as an MS Navigator since 2022, which is recent compared to other navigators on the team. I’ve been working with the MS community in different capacities for over 12 years now and I understand the need for accurate information, genuine support, and heartfelt empathy. Navigating the complexities of MS can feel overwhelming and we are here to help.”
Q: How can people with MS and their families benefit from connecting with an MS Navigator?
A: "An MS Navigator serves as a compass in what can feel like a storm at times. We provide clarity on the large and often contradicting amount of information available on MS, guidance on available resources, and emotional support, just to name a few. Our role ensures that people with MS and their families are never alone in their journey. Through our experience and training, we help decode and navigate the system, as well as provide tangible steps for them to move forward."
Q: What are some common concerns or questions that people with MS often have when they reach out to an MS Navigator, and how do you help address them?
A: "Common concerns often revolve around symptom management, latest treatment options, public services access, and coping strategies. Many people also seek guidance on talking to their families about MS. Each query is met with a personalized response, drawing from both scientific resources and the collective wisdom of our Navigator team. Our goal is to empower everyone with practical knowledge and support."
Q: I'm sure there have been many instances, but can you describe one particular instance that really stuck with you through your time helping people affected by MS?
A: "One encounter that remains close to my heart involved a young mother recently diagnosed with MS, who called the Knowledge Network in tears. The weight of her diagnosis, combined with her concerns for her children, was palpable. We took the time to discuss not just medical avenues but life strategies, self-care, and building a supportive community. A year later, she reached out because she was interested in becoming a volunteer to help empower others. It was profoundly inspiring."
Q: What does being an MS Navigator mean to you?
A: "Being an MS Navigator is a calling. It means being a listener, a guide, and a researcher, all at once. It’s about standing beside every individual with MS and reminding them that their journey is important, their feelings are valid, and they are never alone."
Q: In your experience, what are some of the most rewarding aspects of being an MS Navigator and assisting those in the MS community?
A: "The most rewarding moments are when we witness individuals move out of fear into empowerment, from uncertainty to clarity, and from isolation to community. I love knowing we helped lighten the burden on someone’s shoulders, even if it’s just a little."
Q: If you could tell the MS community one thing about the Knowledge Network, what would that be?
A: "The Knowledge Network is a valuable resource but it’s also a testament to MS Canada’s commitment to ensuring that no one faces MS alone. The service is available to all: the MS community, family and friends, caregivers, employers, health care professionals… everyone."
Q: What advice would you give to someone recently diagnosed with MS or to their family members who are navigating this new journey?
A: “Take it one day at a time. Arm yourself with knowledge. Lean into your community. You are stronger than you realize, and with the right support and information you can face anything.
In my journey as an MS Navigator, these words have guided my purpose. Every interaction with the MS community reinforces the importance of our role. We are more than just Navigators; we are companions in this challenging journey, providing not only information but also solace and a pathway to hope. Through our collective efforts, we show that no one is alone in their fight against MS.”
MS Navigators are available to assist anyone in Canada from 8am to 8pm ET, Monday to Friday.
Live Web Chat: mscanada.ca/about-us/contact-us
Please note: Our team of MS Navigators are not healthcare professionals; individuals living with MS are encouraged to talk with their healthcare team to discuss their options in managing their MS symptoms.
The MS Knowledge Network is not a distress centre or a crisis organization. If you’re in immediate need of support call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital. There are a number of additional mental health supports available across Canada for all ages.