The College of Health and Human Services and School of Social Work recently hosted a film screening of the documentary “When I Walk”, which follows filmmaker Jason DaSilva on a six year journey after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at the age of 25.
After the film, a Q&A session was held in which viewers were given the chance to ask a set of panelists any questions they had pertaining to MS. The panelists in the discussion included:
Victoria Bailey: dedicated volunteer committed to raising awareness and providing funding for MS research
Paige Dalton, JD: Manager, Healthcare Provider Engagement at National MS Society
Abby Carter Emanuelson: AVP, Advocacy and Activist Engagement at National MS Society
Jennifer Frame, RN, MSCN: Lake Norman MS Support Group Leader, MS Society Ambassador
Katie Montie, MSW: ADA Project Coordinator
Nora Schuette, MSW, PA-C: Physician Assistant from Novant Neurology and Sleep
The panelists offered attendees insight into the world of not only those afflicted with MS but their caregivers as well. The main theme throughout the discussion was for audience members to remember that persons diagnosed with MS are people who want to, and can, do things on their own. Panelists also noted the need for caregivers and family members to be honest about their own feelings and emotions, as caregiver and family support is often considered to be both physically and mentally draining.
Also during the Q&A, some attendees came forward and announced that they, too, had been diagnosed with MS. Some students offered their opinion after the film, saying it had altered their view of MS.
“I didn’t really know what MS was but it definitely opened my eyes and gave me a lot of perspective, “ said one student. “It made me think more about working with this population or at least learning more about them.”
The screening was funded by the UNC Charlotte Chancellor’s Diversity Challenge Fund Mini-Grant Program, CHHS Dean’s Office, Team Hoover, Greater Carolinas Chapter of the National MS Society, and local vendors donated prizes for a drawing and organized by social work professor Suzanne Boyd and Health Services Research graduate student Shelby Veri.
“There are resources that are available for people with MS. And for people that do not have a support system, the MS Society navigator program exists,” Boyd said.
“When I Walk” is the first installment of a trilogy of documentaries. The second installment “When We Walk” was released earlier this year and Dr. Boyd plans to apply for a grant to purchase it, as well as the third installment when it is later released. The College of Health and Human Services and School of Social Work will be hosting another free viewing of “When I Walk” in the Spring 2020 semester.