Ontario, Canada

Strategist, Storyteller, Avid Volunteer

“Think about the small changes you need to make in your life. Then find the support system that allows you to do that.”

Juan the Changemaker

Juan is a social impact strategist, a community volunteer, and a dedicated dog dad. He has always loved balancing his professional work, volunteer work, and other personal interests.

“I’ve always been an active community member – volunteering on peer support lines, serving on boards of directors, attending neighborhood events. I’ve always enjoyed being involved. I love helping organizations grow, develop capacity and reach more people, especially right in my backyard.”

In his professional life, as a social impact strategist, Juan also gets to listen. He needs to get to know his partners and their organizations so that he can help tell stories about why they do what they do and help implement the real change these groups want to see in the world.

Finding a Voice after Diagnosis

“I was diagnosed in September 2012. I had woken up one day and I couldn't feel my legs. I thought that I had slept weird or pinched a nerve. A couple of days went by and that feeling of numbness got worse. So, we ended up going to an ER. We saw a million different doctors before I got officially diagnosed.”

“I went looking for information, but didn't see anyone younger than 60 talking about living with MS. The more I learned, the more I realized that I was at the right age to be diagnosed with MS. But the lack of information made me feel alone.”

“Joining MS Canada’s online community helped me see things differently. I started seeing other people going through similar things. And I was able to share my story without feeling ashamed or burdened by it.”

If you Don’t like Something,
Change It

“When I think about it, I can't change the fact that I have MS but what I can do, and what I have done, is change my lifestyle to prioritize my health and my mental health.”

“I still say that there is no meeting, assignment, project, event that is more important to me than my health. If I'm not able to show up and be at my 100%, then it's not worth it. I prioritize.”

“I'm fine if one day, ‘100%’ is doing a 10K charity run. I’m also fine if the next day, ‘100%’ is ordering pizza because I don't want to make dinner that night.”

My MS. My Rules.

“‘Living by my rules’ means that I’m prioritizing myself. That means asking – what do I need for myself? What do I personally want to accomplish? I like giving back to different communities, being a good person, and creating change in the spaces that I live in. My MS is on my terms.

Juan defines his personal success based on being a positive member of his communities. So, whether it’s the MS community, the Queer community, his professional community or his community of friends, Juan always wants to make sure that he’s making a positive contribution.

His advice to other people living with MS is to “find a support system that allows you to ask for help. That could mean finding opportunities to share your story openly or keeping your MS more private. It’s up to you. Think about the small changes you need to make in your life. Then find the support system that allows you to do that.”

Juan is a change maker in the MS community and many other communities. Catch up with Juan and the rest of My Krew on Facebook and Instagram, and share your stories and experiences using #MyKrew!

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Catch up with what My Krew is posting on social. These are your spaces – share your stories and experiences using #MyKrew and help us create a full picture of what MS can look and feel like, from the people who live it – people like you.

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