DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE - CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED MEDICAL RESEARCH PROGRAMS
Sarah Keitt

Photos and text used with permission of
Sarah Keitt.

Prior to her multiple sclerosis diagnosis, Sarah Keitt worked as a clinical research assistant, where she promoted health and disease prevention and educated the public about clinical trials. MS changed Sarah's life in myriad ways, leaving her unable to do many of the things she loved to do pre-MS. However, living with MS allowed Sarah to take a step back, slow down, and really appreciate the quieter aspects of her life. Now she is a stay-at-home mother of two girls, ages 9 and 10. Her days are filled with carpools, practices, and playdates. When she is not acting as chauffeur, chef, tutor, referee, laundress, etc., she enjoys knitting, reading, kayaking, and spending time with her family. Through her experiences with MS, Sarah has gained a renewed appreciation of the love and support of her family around her.

Yet being a mother is not Sarah's only job. She uses her MS as motivation to advocate for those living with a disability. She had the honor of serving on the government relations committee for the Virginia Chapters of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) during which she lobbied local, state, and federal legislators on issues facing the MS community. In fact, Sarah first learned of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) Multiple Sclerosis Research Program (MSRP) through her local NMSS chapter. The members of the chapter being aware of her previous experience working with clinical trials and her interest in public health, they nominated her as a consumer peer reviewer for the MSRP proposal review process.

Sarah described her experience with the MSRP as extremely positive and very fulfilling. She found the program staff to be very supportive and responsive in making sure that all the reviewers had the resources needed to complete their jobs. The scientists were welcoming, receptive, respectful, and appreciative of the consumer reviewers. Sarah believes that the innovative research proposals submitted to the MSRP are evidence that the scientific community is committed to finding a cure for MS. The experience gave her hope, knowing that there are such talented scientists out there committed to the cause.

Sarah found that working on the MSRP review panel gave her another voice in her fight against MS. By serving as a consumer reviewer, she felt that she was part of one of the teams searching for the cure for MS. That feeling is very empowering.

Last updated Wednesday, January 27, 2016