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Fortin family

Tell our government it’s time to take care of caregivers.

Videography: Kevin Jen

I face many obstacles with multiple sclerosis, but my most challenging obstacle is accepting help with the things I used to do. I’ve never had to depend on someone else to start or finish something for me, but this is no longer in my control. I have to learn this, live with it, and keep doing what I can.

Photo of Doug Fortin and familyMy name is Doug. I am a husband and a father of two adult girls. I’m lucky to have my wife and daughters at home supporting me in the many ways multiple sclerosis affects my life.

I was originally diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS, but my disease changed to a secondary-progressive stage. In 2012 I had a series of relapses, which left me with no feeling from the waist down. I’m still recovering from the symptoms of those relapses to this day.

My wife Teresa is the rock of the family. She has taken over many of the things I used to do without thinking. Teresa drives me to all my medical appointments and takes time off work for my appointments and rounds of treatment without hesitation.

While I try to watch out for them, my daughters Danielle and Jeanette are always listening for falls as well as any other warning signs that I may need a hand. My family has banded together to help me cope with living with MS by letting me know it’s okay to ask for help.

In 2012, more than eight million caregivers provided care to loved ones with a long-term health condition. Canadian caregivers contribute more than $5 billion of unpaid labour to our health care system.

Let’s take care of caregivers. Take action online and tell our government it’s time for a National Caregiver Action Plan.

Next: Doug on income support »