S3E40: Ritu Kaur: A One-Woman MS Awareness Machine

Ritu Kaur is no ordinary woman. She is creative, accomplished, life-loving and, after getting diagnosed with MS, has made it her single-handed mission to educate people about MS to reduce the stigma around it and lessen undiagnosed and misdiagnosed cases. MS is not the same for everyone. Nor does MS define a person; only their courage and strength do. 

With love and kindness in her heart, Ritu has taken to spreading awareness about MS and building community around the globe to create acceptance of MS among people with MS and their families, friends, colleagues, and society. Through her deft use of social media, Ritu is building a platform where people with MS and their supporter can get counsel and emotional support… where they feel loved, accepted, and confident. 

Click here for a full transcript of this episode.

Questions: 

  • Welcome to Living Well with MS, Ritu! I believe your full name is Surjeet. Is Ritu a nickname?  

  • There are many thousands of people around the world that know the name Ritu thanks to the work you’ve undertaken to build a community around the cause of raising MS awareness. First off, can you share a little bit about your personal background and connection to MS? 

  • After receiving your diagnosis, what were some of the chief factors that pointed you in the direction of the work you do to raise awareness of MS? 

  • Why do you think it’s so important for MS awareness to improve? How does what you’re doing supplement the work of MS organizations like the MS Society? Where’s the gap that you saw from your own personal experience with MS? 

  • You’ve been quoted as saying “through my efforts I am trying to remove the fear about MS and the taboo associated with the disease.” Can you speak to the stigma around MS you’ve witnessed and how you’ve decided to confront and overcome it? 

  • You’ve built an amazing global community of over 17k people on Instagram, the link to which can be found in our show notes, and as I understand it you have 121 personal relationships with many of them. Why do you feel community is so important? 

  • How do you feel the community you’ve built has made a difference in the lives of people with MS? 

  • You’re based in India. What do you see as the specific challenges there in terms of MS awareness and acceptance, and how are you working to address this closer to home? 

  • Shifting gears a bit, you have a background in marketing, and I know you’ve applied some of these skills to creating some pretty amazing awareness campaigns, the links to which can be found in our show notes. How have these made an impact? 

  • If all the work you do building community and raising MS awareness isn’t enough, you’re also giving me a run for the money by being a creator and host of a podcast, 10 Minutes for MS. I suppose that’s yet another great way to reach people with your message, but since we’re chatting as part of a podcast, what do you think that platform provides you for advancing your cause that others don’t? 

  • On a personal note, how do you find time to stay healthy and balanced given how much time you dedicate to the cause of MS awareness? 

  • Your motto is to “spread awareness with love and happiness”, which is beautiful. But sometimes, and hopefully rarely, you might find yourself suffering the blues. How do you personally cope with that, and what advice would you give to others? 

  • Thanks so much for being on our program, Ritu. You are truly an inspiration to the MS community, and the work you’ve done has already helped transform the MS landscape. On a final note, if you look back 5 or 10 years from now, what is the single greatest change or impact you would have liked to have made with the work you’re doing? 

Bio: 

Since her diagnosis in 2012, Ritu has gone on to create a global community for MS patients and caregivers. Ritu has created a hub for education, awareness and acceptance of MS amongst the PwMS’ families, friends, colleagues and society. Through her efforts, she is also trying to remove the fear, social stigma and taboos associated with MS to create acceptance. She believes that anything can be overcome with Love and Positivity and that is her motto: Spread Awareness with Love and Happiness. With the support of her family and using her marketing skills, she has single-handedly taken up this mission of bring a change to the way MS is perceived today around the world.  

Links:  

  • Ritu and multiplesclerosis.awareness on Instagram 

Some of Ritu’s live interviews with doctors on IGTV and MS Warriors: 

Coming up on our next episode: 

Pack your listening bags for Surrey, England on the next episode of Living Well with MS Coffee Break #21, premiering August 30, 2021, when we introduce you to entrepreneur and philanthropist Julie Pankhurst. You won’t want to miss her fascinating personal story, and hopefully her shared experience with MS and the OMS program will enlighten and inspire you! 

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