The Big Picture

It's said that photos don't lie, but for people living with a health condition, one image may not tell the whole story.

“You're just too tired to go to the gym. Like you can't get out of your bed. You really want to, but some days you're just so fatigued.”
Craig Brodsky
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Thomas Van Veen
“There's the material you learn in Karate...in the martial arts...about 'true' confidence...it's a whole other level of confidence and you quickly learn where yours is not. At times, you learn by falling, the very thing you have been trying to avoid. Then, you re-learn it properly so you don't get hurt...equally important, you learn how to stand back up!  And the more you practice, the stronger you get, and the stronger you get, the 'truer' your confidence to live your journey, your way. ”
Shelly Lowe
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Lizzy Sullivan
“There have been times I had to literally crawl out of the trailer because I’d wake up completely paralyzed, not knowing if I was sleeping on the ceiling or the floor. Then, I’d crawl on my hands and knees, out to where I would carve outside, get up, and start carving and gradually come back.”
Brian Grossman
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
“I don’t think I've ever freaked out over having MS. It’s just kind of one of those things that, such is life, you know?...you've just got to deal with it and just move forward, there's no use in having a pity party constantly.”
Mariya Burke
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Michael Nalley
“Yeah, I look fine. I seem normal. But I have this thing in the back of my head going, ‘When is this thing going to affect me?”
Cory Martin
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Peter Amend
“That first year that I had trouble with my leg, I really struggled with depression that summer because I couldn't do any of my usual hikes. I have my routine. And it's not hardcore, but it's my routine and it's my hikes… I just realized that if I want to keep doing this, I have to figure out what I can do. If I can’t do my regular 10-mile hikes, then I need to pick some new regular hikes that are only 2 miles.”
Judy Lynn
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Michael Nalley
“The thing about living with a chronic condition is it’s a 24/7 open enrollment, and that it doesn’t discriminate across gender, across race, across religion, across age. And it’s opened a whole new world for me…Living with a disability is like learning a new culture.”
Luby Ismail
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Thomas Van Veen
“I love to do community theater, but it can be grueling work.”
Karen Moyle
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Lizzy Sullivan
“MS has really taken me to some hard places. Places where I can’t walk, or I can’t see, or I can’t hear, or I literally don’t know if I’m gonna have function the next week.”
Karla Margeson
Multiple Sclerosis and Lyme Disease Patient
Photographer: Michael Nalley
“I don't look like there's anything wrong with me, which is like a double edged sword. I look very healthy and I'm very happy about that, but people have no idea what I’m struggling with.”
Mary Van De Hey
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Brian Harris
“I woke up and felt like I couldn't breathe, which I now know is called an MS hug.”
Rachel Elhair
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Chris Gorman
“As a patient, no one has ever asked me, 'What do I want to know? What’s going to drive change for me?'”
Laura Kolaczkowski
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Todd Joyce
“Somedays my legs are so weak I can't stand. Other days I'm so dizzy I don't want to stand. ”
Amy Gurowitz
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Markam Keith Adams
“MS sucks, but I fight back every day.”
Alan Kuzminsky
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Chris Gorman
“I woke up one morning and I couldn't see. My doctor told me, 'It's going to get worse before it gets better.'”
Lisa Emrich
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Chris Gorman
“It's been a challenge, not being able to do these things that used to be so easy for me.”
Diane Collins
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Liz Sullivan
“You never know with MS. You could wake up tomorrow and not be able to walk. It’s hard to think about that because, well, what if?”
Danielle Summers
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Chris Gorman
“The world was sideways. I couldn't see right. Everything was crooked.”
Nadja Tizer
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Nina Reed
“I rarely get six hours of sleep and feel totally exhausted. When I started yoga, I couldn't even do a 'Downward Dog'.”
Cathy Chester
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Erica Simone
“Any chronic disease can be lonely because you're in your own head and you're thinking about the what-ifs. You can go to a dark place rather quickly.”
Michelle Miller
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Chris Gorman
“When I'm not riding my bike, I get tired, even depressed. I associated my bike with the MS, so it hung on the wall for a whole year. ”
Christie Germans
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Kent Mercurio
“As a person living with disease, as a woman and as a person of color, I want be at the table and be able to give back.”
Rachel Lovejoy
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Wing Ta
“ For the longest time, I didn't know fatigue was a symptom of MS and I just kept beating myself up for not doing whatever it takes. ”
Joan Wheeler
Multiple Sclerosis Patient
Photographer: Chris Gorman