Kristie Salerno Kent was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November 1999, but had experienced trouble walking before her diagnosis during college.
“I started to have issues in dance classes with balance and weakness in my legs. I felt clumsy—but I’d been dancing since I was really young, so it threw me for a loop,” she says.
Despite these early challenges, she continued to pursue her dream of being a singer and songwriter. She went on to write, direct and star in The Show Must Go On http://www.nationalmssociety.org/online-community/film-festival/show-must-go-on-/index.aspx, a short film about her experience performing with MS. In 2006 she starred in a one-woman show called Believe, which combined MS education with songs and entertainment.
More recently, Kristie developed a special live-art demonstration where she visited malls in the U.S. and invited shoppers to have a firsthand experience in learning about what it is like to live with MS. She asked participants to wear special accessories including one high shoe and one scuba flipper – and then she asked them to continue with their shopping and walking. For many, it was an eye-opening experience in understanding how MS affects walking.
“Many people in the demonstration were shocked to learn that someone like me who looked healthy and young could have a debilitating condition like multiple sclerosis,” said Kristie.
After struggling with mobility issues for years, Kristie has done well in treatment for MS and has been able to continue working. She was among the first people in the U.S. to be treated with AMPYRA® (dalfampridine), a therapy introduced in 2010 to improve walking in people living with MS. This was demonstrated by an increase in walking speed. Today her story appears on AMPYRA Journeys (www.ampyrajourneys.com), a new online resource with information about walking and MS. Ampyra is not right for everyone. People who have had a seizure or who have certain types of kidney problems should not take Ampyra.
“I hear from so many people that they are having the same experience I am having. They are not talking to their doctor about walking and they are not getting help. I want people to know that there is a treatment, Ampyra, that may help them to walk better. I hope that my story will inspire more of them to take action,” she said.
As a patient advocate, Kristie has met with many people who are living with MS and facing walking challenges. She tells them about her hesitation when she first learned she had MS.
“I am excited to be involved in a project to help raise awareness of MS and the mobility issues that affect so many people in the MS community. So many of my friends struggle with simple tasks like going to grocery store, walking their dogs or answering the door in time and these videos can show them how Ampyra helped other people who have MS with their walking problems.” said Kristie.
To learn more about Kristie visit http://www.ampyrajourneys.com or check out her many videos on YouTube!
Important Safety Information
Do not take AMPYRA if you have ever had a seizure or have certain types of kidney problems.
Before taking AMPYRA tell your doctor if you have kidney problems. The risk of having a seizure is higher in patients with certain types of kidney problems.
AMPYRA should not be taken with other forms of 4-aminopyridine (4-AP, fampridine), since the active ingredient is the same.
AMPYRA may cause serious side effects, including kidney or bladder infections.
The most common side effects of AMPYRA include urinary tract infection, trouble sleeping, dizziness, headache, nausea, weakness, back pain, and problems with balance. The majority of side effects reported in the clinical trials were mild and transient.
For more information, please see the full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.