Q&A: Emily Harleyn (9)

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Emily Harley (9) poses in a shirt that supports her disease. She wore this shirt to show that she is strong despite her disease and to raise awareness for multiple sclerosis.

Liberty Toweson

Q: What condition do you have?

A: I have multiple sclerosis. It’s an autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your central nervous system, which is your brain, optic nerve and spine.

Q: When did you first get symptoms of multiple sclerosis?

A: I first got my major symptom on Feb. 12, 2017, which was double vision. The next day I got muscle pains and extreme fatigue. I was sleeping 15 hours a day.

Q: Has this been affecting your mental health at all?

A: When I have flare-ups, I space out a lot more and it makes me less aware during stressful situations.

Q: How has this impacted your family?

A: My little brother feels left out a lot, especially now since my mom is taking a lot more care of me. My mom is also very stressed all the time.

Q: What do you have to do to stay healthy?

A: I have to go to sleep at 8:30 every night. I also have to eat healthy—I can’t have sugar or gluten.

Q: How have your friends and family shown support?

A: My friends brought me flowers, stuffed animals and treats. They brought their emotional support and it was really nice. My family has also visited a lot more and gave me things to help me feel better.

Q:What is a another downside to having this condition besides the health risks?

A: I had to change my way of life pretty much out of nowhere which is really unfortunate.

Q: Are there any positives to having multiple sclerosis?

A: The school said I can pretty much do whatever I want, but I don’t like to because the teachers get really annoyed. I have met many people who also have what I have and it’s been very nice to meet new people and hear their stories about what they’re going through.