We began producing broadcasts for people living with multiple sclerosis more than 10 years ago. That was when Betaseron, the first biologic disease-modifying drug, was first coming to market.

We had an instant audience.

At that time, my only friend with MS was Terri S. She was in a couples group that my wife and I belong to. Terri was doing well and not yet on a regular medicine. Happily, Terri continues to do well on Avonex, which she has taken for several years.

Once, on my way to work, a man on the street asked me for directions. It turned out he was headed my way, so we walked together. His name was Dan. When I mentioned that I worked at HealthTalk, he immediately volunteered that he was a regular listener to the Multiple Sclerosis Education Network and made a point to never miss a program either live or as a replay.

Then, for several years, I didn’t meet anyone with MS so very close to home. That recently changed.

First there was Mikki, the wife of one of our systems engineers at HealthTalk. They are newlyweds and trying to have a child. MS is a big complication and very worrisome for them.

And then just the other day, I was absolutely bowled over to learn that Karla, just 22 and one of the writers of our newsletters here at HealthTalk, has been living with MS for a year – diagnosed at just 21!

Karla is actually the patient guest on our MS webcast today (if you miss the live event, a replay will be available almost immediately), and she’s very willing to talk about her condition. As a matter of fact, it turns out she sought the job with HealthTalk because of her chronic condition and our dedication to helping people who are living with MS and other serious diseases. Karla wanted to help, and she has been absolutely great to have on the team.

Thinking about all of this has made it abundantly clear to me that there are people living with major health concerns all around us - sometimes closer than we think. For me, it puts another face on what we do here at HealthTalk - and why it is so important.

I am honored that I am hosting this week’s MS webcast, and I’m looking forward to hearing more of Karla’s story and her commitment to move forward with her life while helping others. Look around you: You may find that you know someone like Karla or Mikki too.

–Andrew