Lisa Dryer, creator of #MSbeautiful lives with multiple sclerosis and other chronic auto-immune illnesses and certainly is a strong woman on a mission. A former actress, model and teacher, she was forced to give up her career in her 20’s when she became very ill. Although, Lisa has been a survivor struggling with health issues since the day she was born premature, weighing one pound, this girl is not going to let anything get in her way.
Lisa is currently on Lemtrada and doing very well. Not only is Lisa the creator of #MSbeautiful, she currently is a radio talk show host on Mess With MS for the brain injury radio network, a fiction writer, blogger and owner and creator of numerous sites and blogs including, MS Changed Me and Monster and the Reluctant Syren.
What is #MSbeautiful?
#MSbeautiful is a movement to make women with multiple sclerosis feel empowered and fully female again. It’s a way to free yourself and how society stereotypes disability. I want patients with MS to cast aside the negative for the positive and feel loved and beautiful despite their diagnosis.
What inspired you to start #MSbeautiful?
I was living in Granadna Hills, California and very sick. I would stay in my room learning, writing, reading and blogging about MS. I felt a calling to tell my story. My friend and professional photographer, Al Murin, who has since passed away, gave me a book about Marilyn Monroe, a beautiful woman with a hard life. It inspired me. When I was sick and learning how to walk again, Al told me he could make me a model again. I started taking selfies of myself and labeling them #MSbeautiful and then started to encourage others with MS to do the same.
Next, the idea came to bring women with MS together to be pampered, photographed and feel beautiful again. I started organizing photo shoots. So far there has been a photo shoot in Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio and Colorado. My dream is for there to be one in every state and maybe go international. I know that beauty is more about the inside than the out but I do this because seeing people happy makes me happy. At the Colorado photo shoot, one of the participants that touched my heart the most wrote “it made me feel normal again.” This is what drives me.
What to expect at a #MSbeautiful photo shoot?
A photo shoot will be organized by a chairperson for their state and they will work with me and my national team to plan a day for women with MS to be pampered at no expense. This includes a professional photographer, professional hair and makeup artists, meeting with MS Advocates, swag bags, healthy snacks and lots of resources and networking. Friendships and connections are often made and it’s just as touching and rewarding for the volunteers as it is for the participants. It’s changing the way disability is viewed.
How do I get in on this?
Join the #MSbeautiful just for women Facebook page or email email@example.com and let us know that you want to be involved and what state you live in. Be prepared to write up some information before and after the photo shoot about why you want to do this, how this will make or made you feel or if you felt beautiful.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful project. I would love to get one of these started in Chicago!
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