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National Multiple Sclerosis(MS) Awareness Week is March 15-21

From Adversity to Advantage

Building and managing a small business while coping with MS

LIVINGSTON, N.J., March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Successfully building a small business and dealing with a chronic illness like MS have a lot in common: managing your fears, finding ways to turn a liability into an asset, staying motivated and positive, and reaching out to create a support system for success.

It's not surprising then, that more and more people grappling with chronic medical conditions, including MS, see running a home-based business as an economic and personal lifeline. According to Dr. Kim Cordingly, a lead consultant with the Job Accommodation Network, a service of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, "given the ongoing variability in symptoms (i.e., fatigue, mobility impairments, etc.), working from home enables one to build accommodations into the design of their business allowing individuals to remain productive and contribute to their families financially."

Launching a new enterprise is always a risky business. But launching while managing a serious medical condition takes an extra dose of courage, resiliency, can-do creativity - and sheer moxie! No one knows this better than Bruce Freeman (Livingston, NJ), an entrepreneur recently diagnosed with MS. While he was experiencing MS-type symptoms before his diagnosis, Bruce and his co-author conceived Birthing the Elephant: the go-for-it! guide to overcoming the big challenges of launching a business (Ten Speed Press), a beat-the-odds action guide for aspiring women entrepreneurs -- and chose to profile Cathy Kerns (Orlando, FL) for her courageous start-up story.

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in her late 30s, Cathy left the corporate world and launched Style Stick(R), a home-based Internet business that makes colorful, fashion-forward walking canes for those with limited mobility. The Style Stick(R) trademark is now recognized around the world as a unique accessory for those not wishing to give up their sense of style when faced with a disability. The emotional stress of being diagnosed with a chronic illness is often compounded by an instant lack of confidence in what the future will bring. Style Stick(R) helped Cathy keep her chin up to face her uncertain future and offer welcomed assistance to others also needing a positive boost after devastating news affecting their ability to walk.

Bruce made a similar move after being fired from a management position: he started his own business, ProLine Communications, to help companies with their public relations efforts. With his recent MS diagnosis, he's had to reinvent himself once again. Facing challenges is nothing new to Bruce; he is expanding his communications business to help other authors promote their books. Nationally known as The Small Business Professor(R), he is an award-winning syndicated columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. Bruce also received an award for teaching excellence at Seton Hall University.

Valerie Millerick (Nanuet, NY) is the president and founder of Renal Care Registered Nursing Services. Founded in 1991, Renal Care provides acute kidney dialysis services to some of the Northeast's largest hospitals and care giving facilities. Millerick was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1988. Determined not to leave the profession she had come to love, Valerie made the transition from hospital nurse to entrepreneur. By leaving behind the stress of daily floor shifts to work one-on-one with her patients, Valerie has successfully extended the life of her career. As she proudly states, "I may have MS, but MS does not have me."

In these difficult economic times when talented people are being laid off from main stream employment - starting your own small business by taking advantage of your special talents, is a viable option. And what better segment of the fast-growing small-business community - the engine of the American economy - to guide potential launchers than those who've triumphed over a double whammy: launching thriving businesses while managing MS?

In recognition of National MS Awareness Week, we are proposing a program that will offer practical start-up advice, life wisdom, and inspiration from small-business owners who are also coping with medical adversity.

For further information, please call 973-716-9457.

SOURCE ProLine Communications
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