The League's MS Day participant Jakki enjoying time with her friends at The League.

The League’s Multiple Sclerosis Day Program: Meet Jakki

Meet Jakki! Jakki is a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day Program participant at The League for People with Disabilities. Jakki has Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that attacks the central nervous system, an unpredictable condition and currently does not have a cure. Each experience with MS is different, and symptoms vary, including fatigue, dizziness, mobility challenges, cognitive changes, and vision issues. The League for People with Disabilities offers an MS Day Program for adults with Multiple Sclerosis.  

The League’s MS Day program specializes in helping MS participants address their quality of life, independence, and wellness. Adults with multiple sclerosis can join social groups of similar interests, like music, food, and books aiming to stimulate cognition through word games and logic puzzles. The League’s MS Day Program is unique, allowing members to speak about their MS experiences, health services, and self-advocacy. Licensed Speech Language Pathologists, volunteers, and university interns lead the groups. 

Jakki’s Multiple Sclerosis Journey: An MS Day Program Participant 

Jakki is an active member at The League’s MS Day Program, known for her passion for fitness and traveling. Jakki obtained a graduate degree in International Studies from NYU, which helped fuel her love for traveling. Jakki and her girlfriend enjoy national and international trips as they can explore their love for different cultures and places. Jakki grew up in the Lower East Side of New York City and moved to Baltimore in 1989. She lives with her mother and loves seeing her cousins, aunts, nieces, and nephews at family gatherings around the holidays.  

Favorite Hobbies: Building, sewing, playing games with family, and attending water therapy classes at the YMCA.  

Fun Fact: Jakki loves watching Bugs Bunny cartoons and action/espionage movies! 

In 2002, Jakki began to be frustrated with the uncertainty of her health decline and the loss of her independence. She started to experience tingling in her arms and legs, a loss of balance, muscle spasms, and inexplicable fatigue. For five years, uncertainty filled her as she awaited her diagnosis. In 2007, she underwent an MRI, which confirmed she has Multiple Sclerosis. Jakki was forced to make lifestyle changes and heard about The League’s MS Day Program. Since joining, she received unconditional support from other group members, allowing her to make friends in sessions. She even gets to participate in stimulating activities. The League’s MS Day motivated Jakki to regain her strength and confidence back. 

Overcoming Obstacles: Jakki’s Battle with Multiple Sclerosis 

“I couldn’t figure out why my legs didn’t work anymore and why I was so tired” 

Multiple Sclerosis still affects Jakki’s day-to-day life. She has trouble walking upstairs, going long distances, and bending over to pick items up. Even sitting for too long can create muscle spasms. One thing Jakki wants people to know about MS is that: 

“Fatigue is real.”  

Jakki does her best to accomplish as much as she can in the mornings, but she is uncertain of how much energy she will have by the end of the day. Even though MS causes extreme fatigue, Jakki still pushes herself to get as much done as possible every day. To raise awareness about MS, Jakki stays positive and openly shares her experience with her friends. Jakki, along with many others, clings to the hope for a cure for Multiple Sclerosis. 

The League’s Lifelong Impact: Creating Connection and Inclusivity 

Jakki joined The League in November of 2022. She believes the camaraderie and friendships she has made at The League’s MS Day Program are unique. Group participants check in together often and remain supportive of each other. The League offers different opportunities for MS participants to dive into art projects, creative expression, reading exercises, and puzzles. Jakkie appreciates that The League continuously exposes the MS participants to new activities and hobbies.  

The MS Day Program gives Jakki a reason to get out of bed. She schedules her week so she can partake in The League’s MS Day Program on Mondays, Wednesdays and virtually Thursdays. Jakki’s favorite part about the MS Day Program is that it gives participants who all share the same discomforts of having MS a safe place. Together, they can lean on each other and share similar challenges and experiences. Jakki feels connected with Jessica, the Program Manager at The League. Jakki says, “Jessica is receptive, friendly, dynamic, and outgoing.” Jessica pushes Jakki and the other participants to be the best version of themselves.  

Moving Forward with Purpose: Advocating for Multiple Sclerosis 

Currently, Jakki is looking forward to getting her second knee replacement, hoping it will increase her mobility and strength.  

“I want my strength and confidence back to stand up without having to hold onto my chair.” 

Every day she drives herself to the MS Day Program she feels accomplished. Jakki will continue to share her Multiple Sclerosis story and encourage others to do their best.  

“There is a barrier of denial that so many people with MS have to overcome so that they can move forward with their lives.” 

Join the Movement: Support The League’s Mission 

The League for People with Disabilities appreciates the continuous support and donations our sponsors, volunteers, and donors make. Their kindness and compassion allow us to empower individuals with disabilities to become independent. All proceeds go towards providing participants with the best resources and further advancing The League’s mission. Make a difference in Baltimore and beyond by getting involved with The League today. Every volunteer, hour, donation, and act of goodwill brings us closer to a community of inclusion. 


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