More MS news articles for May 2001

The West Wing’s Season Finale and Multiple Sclerosis

May 15, 2001—As the 2001 season of "The West Wing," one of the nation’s most popular and critically acclaimed TV shows, draws to a close, everyone's eager to find out how America’s most famous fictional president will handle public disclosure about his multiple sclerosis.

Will Josiah Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen) be willing and able to run for reelection? We may have to tune in this September to know for sure.

In the meantime, this program will continue to engage us for several other reasons:

President Josiah Bartlet and actor Martin Sheen may have a battery of advisors and writers to help them deal with and portray MS, but in the real world people with MS count on the National MS Society ( and its 50-state network of chapters ( Every chapter throughout the country offers programs that help individuals with MS resolve employment issues.

In addition, the Society also distributes a variety of related publications. For instance, Should I Work alerts ( people that it takes up to 5 years to determine how MS will affect you personally—and it takes even longer to weigh individual options, find appropriate advisors, and make realistic long-term plans. This brochure encourages people to investigate sick leave policies, short-term disability insurance, and the Family Medical Leave Act.

Information for Employers ( helps management understand that making accommodations for employees with MS is rarely complex or expensive, plus it allows their firm to benefit from the productivity of a valuable employee. It's also the law under the ADA. The Win-Win Approach to Reasonable Accommodations and the ADA ( and People with MS ( suggest ways to maintain a successful work environment, and offer guidance on how to recognize signs that retirement might be the better option.

Just the Facts (, Living with MS (, and Comparing the A-B-C Drugs ( (In "The West Wing," the president is taking the beta-interferon drug, Betaseron® to treat his MS) are just three of the many other publications the Society provides to help individuals with MS select appropriate treatment.

In addition, people with MS and their families can join one of the Society’s 2,000 support groups or visit one or more of the Society’s 200 family programs. The Society provides over 2,500 client programs nation-wide—including Learn Online (, available on the national website, and Knowledge Is Power (, a program for the newly diagnosed ( available through local chapters.