Can Do MS Board Member
Can Do MS Programs Consultant for more than 20 years
Founding member and first elected president of the Consortium of MS Centers
President, The Schapiro Multiple Sclerosis Advisory Group
Clinical Professor of Neurology, University of Minnesota
I CAN provide a new perspective.
When Dr. Schapiro heard of Jimmie Heuga (Can Do MS’s founder), he never heard of him before. Schapiro didn’t ski. In fact, Dr. Schapiro didn’t like Jimmie at first.
“Suddenly this jock who won a bronze medal is an expert in MS,” said Dr. Schapiro. “And he’s telling people who have MS that if they exercise they can do better. I didn’t like him.”
Then Dr. Schapiro’s patient was invited to attend a CAN DO Program in Vail, CO. Dr. Schapiro’s MS Center was looking closely at how exercise impacted MS patients. So he decided to attend the program as well.
“They (the first programs consultants) and Jimmie didn’t know anything. But they knew they didn’t know anything. And Jimmie knew he didn’t know anything.”
But they were doing something new and bringing a new perspective to the world of MS, and I was hooked, he said. After his visit, Dr. Schapiro worked with Jimmie and other program consultants in the health care field to further develop the interdisciplinary, whole person approach to managing MS. This approach is what makes Can Do MS’s lifestyle empowerment programs so unique today.
“As I look back, I was crazy. I put my reputation on the line because The Heuga Center (now Can Do MS) was so different from anything that was offered at the time.”
More than 20 years later, Dr. Schapiro is an active Can Do MS Programs Consultant, Programs Committee Member and Board Member.
I CAN collaborate with an interdisciplinary team.
“We’re a family from around the country who come together to work with people with MS and their support partners, concentrating on the patients’ unique needs,” he said. “A highly trained physical therapist or nurse practitioner has an opportunity to do what they are trained to do in a professional and respectful setting.”
Can Do MS’s interdisciplinary team is dedicated, too. There are consultants, like Dr. Schapiro, who have been part of the family for more than 20 years. They miss days of work to volunteer their time for Can Do MS’s mission.
“I recruited about a dozen staff from The Schapiro Center for Multiple Sclerosis to Can Do MS. It’s heartwarming to see these people stay involved with Can Do MS after all these years.”
“There are approaches to treating the MS symptoms, approaches to treating the disease, and approaches to treating the patient. Can Do MS looks at all three of these and figures out what’s best for each person.”