Washington D.C. (WJLA) — A nurse in the District is helping MS patients stay active, she also wants to make sure they beat feelings of isolation during the pandemic.
Erika Mitchell is on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.
“In challenging times nurses are a really special group of people and it’s our time to shine because we shine in difficult situations,” Mitchell said.
It’s double duty for this nurse because he also helps Multiple Sclerosis patients fight an illness that can be debilitating and isolating.
“What everybody is figuring out with COVID-19 is what MS has been doing to me since 2007,” Angela White said.
Angela White loves to dance, she also has MS.
“The reason for that is it’s very isolating and you feel like you exist in this little bubble all by yourself and there is no way to interact,” White said.
She said her disease forced her to withdraw from society.
Now, thanks to Mitchell's Movement for MS program, she’s finding herself and her community.
“Being in a room of other people who get me is so freeing, affirming, welcoming, embracing, nurturing and life giving,” White said.
Instructors use dance to improve patient’s mobility.
“I’m committed to never being largely immobile, isolated and not engaging the world in the way I want to,” White said.
Now, Mitchell is taking her program virtual so she can help patients move and groove wherever they are.
The program is now expanding through online classes for the social distancing era, thanks to new funding from EMD Serono and the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses’ 2020 Nightingale Award.
Mitchell is one of 10 recipients of the 2020 Nightingale Award, which recognizes significant achievements in MS nursing.