FANWOOD/SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA (FSPY) will recognize Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week, March 8 to 14, by offering educational information and celebrating those living with MS.

On Wednesday, March 11, at 1:30 p.m., FSPY will host a special “Lunch and Learn” with special guest speaker Amanda Vargas, owner of Fettle + Fare in Westfield. Vargas will speak about her own journey with MS and how dietary changes helped her manage her symptoms, among other topics.

The event, held at the YMCA building, is free and open to the community. To register, visit the FSPY Welcome Center, located at 1340 Martine Avenue in Scotch Plains. All guests are asked to show a valid, government-issued photo ID to enter. You can bring lunch to the event, and the Y provides a light snack.

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According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. The cause of MS is unknown; most people are diagnosed between ages 20 and 50, and at least two to three times more women than men are diagnosed.

To help manage the symptoms of MS – which vary from person to person - and to offer support to individuals diagnosed with it, FSPY offers the MS Water Exercise and One Step MS Fitness Programs. These programs work on improving balance, coordination, mobility and range of motion and help combat fatigue. The YMCA is an ADA compliant facility and classes are taught by certified instructors.

Jessica Serna was diagnosed with MS in June 2012 and her life quickly changed. As the disease progressed, her eyesight worsened, she began to have trouble with balance and eventually, had to stop working at her full-time job.

Mrs. Serna was referred to FSPY’s MS Water Exercise Program and was hesitant to join at first since she wasn’t a “huge fan of the water.” But she had heard about the health benefits of aquatic exercise for those living with MS. She decided to give it a try and “ended up loving it so much that I registered for a second session.”

“Taking these classes has allowed me to build strength in my arms and legs,” Ms. Serna said. “The classes also help me work on my endurance and balance. After two years in this class, I feel I have a better quality of life.”

She added that she especially enjoys the friendships she has made with others in the MS program, along with other YMCA members.

“The YMCA is like my second home. My body is not only growing stronger physically, but mentally as well with all the friendships I’ve made with the others in my classes. Getting to know others with MS has been beyond priceless,” Ms. Serna said.

For more information on the MS Water Exercise and One Step MS Fitness Programs at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA, visit These programs are open to FSPY members and the community; financial assistance is available to those who qualify.

About the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA
The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. For information on membership or programs, or to request a schedule of classes, please call the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA at (908) 889-8880 or visit Financial assistance is available for those who qualify. The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA is located at 1340 Martine Avenue in Scotch Plains.