Observing May's Awareness Months and Days

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on May 31, 2021 # Health, Aging

As May comes to an end, the Reeve Foundation would like to reflect on the various awareness days we spotlighted this month. Be sure to follow us @ReeveFoundation on our social media channels, where we share and spotlight important awareness days throughout the year.

Mental Health Month

Raising awareness about mental health is extremely important, especially when the feeling of isolation is common for many individuals who have been diagnosed with paralysis. The Reeve Foundation's Living with Paralysis and Caring for a Family Member Living with Paralysis support groups provide an opportunity for members to connect with others who understand what they are going through and to gain support, insight and guidance.

Each meeting begins with a discussion of a topic related to living with paralysis or caregiving, followed by an open forum conversation among group members.

Join the Reeve Foundation's virtual support groups

Military Appreciation Month

For Military Appreciation Month, we are spotlighting the Reeve Foundation's Military & Veterans Program (MVP). MVP extends expertise in spinal cord injury and paralysis to include resources and community connections for servicemen and women and veterans living with paralysis, whether through combat-related, service-related, or non-service-related events.

Women's Health Week May 10 - 16

During Women's Health Week, the National Paralysis Resource Center presented "Women and Aging with Paralysis" and "Empowering Women Living with Paralysis: Breaking Barriers to Reproductive Health." These two webinars were a part of the Paralysis Resource Center's Women's Health Series which focuses on the health and well-being of women living with paralysis.

"Women and Aging with Paralysis" provided a much-needed exploration of this topic to help women better understand what to expect as they age and realize that they are not the only ones going through these changes.

"Empowering Women Living with Paralysis: Breaking Barriers to Reproductive Health" provided strategies for overcoming these barriers. The presenters will share their personal experiences as women living with paralysis in addressing challenges they have faced in obtaining reproductive healthcare.

Older Americans Month

Reeve Foundation blogger Allen Rucker touches on the important topic of aging with paralysis. For Older Americans Month, we spotlight his blog "Oldersters Among Us."

"When I became paralyzed in the late 1990s and had to learn to live with wheelchairs, grab bars, catheters, and the like, I realized that I was getting a leg up on becoming old. I was at least twenty years ahead of my ambulatory peers in handling the health consequences and, yes, indignities of aging. None of them wanted to hear about this at the time, of course. They were neither old nor planning to get old and certainly didn't want to think about what that might mean, should it occur. They were all 50 going on 30, not 50 going on 70. And for a good reason. Who wants to think about getting old? Hell, you might get older faster just dwelling on it. There is no upside."

Stroke Awareness Month

May marks American Stroke Month for Stroke Awareness. Stroke, which paralyzes 1.6 million Americans, is the leading cause of paralysis, with spinal cord injury a close second.

Paralysis is a common feature of stroke, often on one side of the body (hemiplegia). The paralysis or weakness may affect only the face, an arm, or a leg or may affect one entire side of the body and face. However, the bleeding of the brain during an ischemic stroke can lead to full paraplegic or quadriplegic paralysis.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

May 21 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. As we head into Graduation season, we highlight the blog "Starting College or Returning to College with Paralysis" by Annie Tulkin, who is the Founder and Director of Accessible College, which is a partner of the Reeve Foundation.

"Going to college is a big transition for all students, regardless of age or ability. Students who are starting college or returning to college with paralysis have more things to consider. Many of these students have not previously received or needed accommodations to be able to attend school. Without prior experience in this area, it can be difficult to know what types of accommodations will be necessary and how to request those accommodations. Whether you are an adult with paralysis who is starting college or a student with paralysis who is returning to college, the accommodations you request through the college's Disability Support Office (DSO) will be key in making sure that you are able to succeed."

World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Day

May 30 is World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Day. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms may be episodic and mild, such as numbness in a limb or a visual disturbance that resolves over time. Others can have more severe and lasting symptoms, including paralysis, incontinence, cognitive loss, or loss of vision. Each case of MS is unique depending on the nerves affected. An individual can have one, all, or any combination of symptoms. Symptoms can resolve, some or all symptoms can remain.

ALS Awareness Month

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurological disease that primarily affects the nerves of the brainstem, spinal cord and cerebral cortex of the brain. It is a subset of a larger group of diseases called Motor Neuron Disease (MND). As ALS progresses, breathing can be affected. Because ALS affects only motor activity, the disease does not impair a person's mind, personality, intelligence, or memory.

Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, May 31, we honor those who have served this country. Memorial Day, first called "Decoration Day," was conceived by a group of Union Army veterans after the Civil War ended as a day to lay flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers. Bouquets and evergreens from public gardens and the President's Conservatory and Treasury gardens were placed throughout Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868, during a ceremony attended by thousands. In 1971, Memorial Day was expanded by Congress to honor all soldiers who have died in service to the country.

Learn more about the Reeve Foundation's military and veteran program here.

Learn more by visiting our Paralysis Resource Center for the following free resources:

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.