Craig, Journalist and Storyteller

Craig has been sharing his experiences as a hemophiliac with others for a long time. “I hope by talking about what I’ve been through I can be an inspiration to the next generation. For some reason, people like hearing from someone ‘old school’ like me,” Craig laughs.

Diagnosed in infancy, Craig has seen it all in his 57 years, embracing advances in treatment and always staying positive. All despite the challenges of living not just with hemophilia but also with HIV, which he contracted during treatment in the 1980s. “No matter what, I’ve always just kept moving forward. I married and had a child. I refused to let my disorder define me and have relied on science to help me make the most of my life.”

Craig grew up on a wild animal reserve, and today is an avid kayaker, writer, and poet who hikes and backpacks whenever possible. “I like challenges. Some people look at my experiences and say they are sorry I have had to go through all that, but the way I look at it, I am lucky to be living a life that offers me so many chances to learn and grow.”

Melanie, Volunteer and Animal Lover

Warm and outgoing, Melanie counts her friends as the greatest blessings in her life. An “always there” friend, she loves to help babysit and pet sit whenever she can. She also loves to cook and is an active volunteer at her church.

Melanie was just 27 years old when she was diagnosed with MS. “I didn’t even know what the disease was or anyone who had it. I thought my life was over.”Since then, Melanie has discovered that she can still live the life she wants. “I’ve moved across the country, completed my education. I’ve done everything I wanted; I just had to be a little more creative. I want to give others hope that they can do it, too.”

Michelle, World Traveler and Executive Assistant

Ever since they first met in Paris, Michelle and her husband have been traveling the world together. Living up to her promise to not let MS hold her back, she is thankful that she wasted no time in booking that long-awaited trip immediately after her diagnosis in 2000.

“I want people to know that you can do anything you want; you just have to figure out how.”

When she’s not planning her next getaway, this one-time chef and caterer delights in cooking and entertaining family and friends. She enjoys walking for exercise and also leads a local support group of over 100 people. “I feel lucky to have the life that I do. Even though I didn’t know it, before MS I wasn’t really living. Now I am.”

Richard, General Contractor and Business Owner

Diagnosed in 2013, Richard today leads an active life and works as a contractor. He enjoys taking vacations with his wife, as well as working out to stay fit.

Richard describes being scared when he was first diagnosed. “I thought I had a pinched nerve, and the doctor told me I had MS. I didn’t have the luxury of talking with anyone who had already been through this. I didn’t know that I would get better.” And that’s what Richard wants people to know — it does get better.”

You can often find him volunteering to help others with MS. “It feels good to put my contracting skills to use for the local MS Quality of Life Project. If helping others and sharing my story can make the transition to being a patient easier for just one person, I’ve done a good thing.”

Daniel, Musician and Swimmer

Daniel is a musician, swimmer, son, and brother. He also has lived his entire life with hemophilia.

“Having hemophilia has taught me two major lessons by which I live: never waste time and never be afraid to seize an opportunity.” A few years ago, Daniel did just that. Seizing an opportunity presented to him by a professor meant Daniel was off to Montreal to study abroad in one of the jazz capitals of the world — a musician and music educator’s dream. Following his studies in Canada, Daniel went on to complete his undergraduate degree and plans to teach music and pursue further studies in music education, including a doctorate degree.

“Hemophilia is an obstacle that I work to overcome. It is something I live with. But it doesn’t confine me. Achieving in my studies, excelling in music, and spending as much time outdoors as possible bring joy and beauty to my life.”

Kate, Volunteer and Small-Business Owner

Kate is a volunteer, small-business owner, mother, and wife. Kate’s journey with multiple sclerosis began without a diagnosis. She developed optic neuritis and a blind spot, but multiple sclerosis was not even considered at the time. After several years of inexplicable health events, Kate underwent a series of MRIs and a spinal tap. She and her doctors finally had confirmation: multiple sclerosis. With the diagnosis, Kate was sad, angry, scared, and relieved all at the same time.

“When I was first diagnosed, I was very worried that I would have to give up everything that I loved doing, and that I would be alone in a bubble with my MS. I felt isolated, and the uncertainty was huge. But I was also relieved to know what was going on with my health so I could talk to a specialist and start treatment.”

Since her diagnosis, she has reprioritized how she spends her time, and has been able to pick up some new activities, including exercising and participating in walks to raise money for multiple sclerosis charities. Kate believes that being consistent with her therapy helps to keep her stable and has allowed her to continue doing the things she loves.

Rosemarie, Swimmer and Volunteer

Rosemarie is a swimmer and volunteer extraordinaire. She has also been living with multiple sclerosis for 22 years. Before her diagnosis, Rosemarie had a career in dentistry, teaching dental hygiene and working in a dental office. She would ride her bicycle 30 miles to and from work. Six months after her daughter was born, she was diagnosed, and within five years, she had to stop working.

“I had big hopes and dreams. I lived my life fully and had big expectations for my family. Yet my path turned out different. I was walking and biking one day and in a scooter the next. When I was diagnosed with MS, I took all my frustration out of not being able to ride my bicycle and became this crazy volunteer at the MS bike events. Today I focus on what I call ‘the gifts’ MS brought me, like the chance to spend more time with my daughter when she was growing up.”

Peer Speakers have chosen to share their stories with other people living with MS or hemophilia. Each of these stories reflects the personal experiences of one person, and stories are not intended to imply any therapeutic benefit, results or experiences with Biogen products.