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Croatian MS Youth has been established


In the middle of October 2023, I spent two days at an event that had happened earlier, but the most important it happened. For the first time ever, we had a meeting for young people with MS in Croatia. The event was held between 13-15 October in Biograd, a small town on the coast, near the place where I am living. Young people from different cities around Croatia with the same idea.

I wanted this for a long time, I met many young people with MS during my involvement with the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform and that energy of other young people really helped me. It helped me to believe in myself, to dream the same dreams despite having MS. It sounds weird but it’s true. And now, finally, it happened on the national level, a wish which I had for a long time, came true. Maybe I didn’t try enough, maybe it was not the right moment but now, it was definitely the right moment.

Unfortunately, because my work with young football team, as I am the coach of a football club and I had obligations to the team, I spent only one day at the event. But I was really excited and my expectations were huge! I opened the door, there was a session and the first thing I saw, was the people were smiling, the energy was amazing. I was shy, and my wife didn’t trust me, and I didn’t know where I was going to sit. Then I found a place and there was my name on the desk and I started to talk with my group. We haven’t met before; I just saw the names but we are talking as we have known each other for some time. This is the energy that I wanted to feel!

That day was full of interaction sessions, everyone wanted to participate, and everyone wanted to say something. There were different ideas, brilliant ideas, ideas that I liked more, ideas that I didn’t find good enough, but the most important thing we all want to improve the quality of life for people with MS! We agreed pretty fast that we need one space where you can find important and relevant information about multiple sclerosis, we need more young people at the societies and we need to find more balance between the older generation and the youth in the societies.

The second day of the event came to an end, I was tired, and I needed to drive to my home but I was happy and satisfied, the event totally fulfilled my expectations.  I am a person who loves to analyse things and sometimes that is not a good thing because I get the first fear about this event. I asked myself, what if the energy was only for this event? What if they lose this energy when they come back home? In the next few days, I started to talk with people that I met at the event. I talked with Maja Liković, a brilliant young woman, and social worker, who worked for the Croatian MS societies for some time. But this time she was there as a young woman who wanted to see improvement in the Croatian system. I asked her what she thought about the event and will this event help us in the future. And after some hours, she replied

“At the invitation for the first meeting of young people with MS in Croatia, I was very excited because I consider it extremely important that young people gather and share experiences and ideas. I believe that the Forum of Youth with MS in Croatia will come to life in full glory, because until now there was no place and safe environment exclusively for young people with MS, and the event itself met my expectations and continues with that strength. The youth forum did not exist at the time of my multiple sclerosis diagnosis.”

You know something is on the right track when you share the same opinion.

The Croatian MS Youth Forum is now a platform which brings the youth together with one clear idea, to improve the quality of life of young people with MS. It’s structured but everyone can contribute with ideas, with a comment and most importantly, everyone thinks this is something that we missed. Withing the Forum’s structure we have also a Vice-president Ivan Tarle. Ivan is a phycologist, who is ready to work but I am sure he will be brilliant for the Forum.  I asked him, if we had this Forum when he was diagnosed, would it be easier?

“I think that having something like this back when I was diagnosed would make my whole MS journey so much easier and painless. Being among these people sparks feelings of hope and enthusiasm.”

Did this event meet your expectations?

“Meeting exceeded my expectations by a huge margin. I was pleasantly surprised to see not only the energy of the people but also willingness to participate and put to work all different sorts of professional skills that members possess.”

We all have similar opinions, and comments on the event and on the Croatian MS Youth Forum. The forum is growing rapidly, young people are interested and ready to help with many things. I am sure the future is bright for the forum but also for events where we are going to meet and work for a couple of days for a better future. We finally have the space and the important thing – we have the support from the Croatian MS Society. I am sure that at the Youth Forum, there will also be candidates for the EMSP Youth People’s network, there will be candidates one day to step in the shoes of the president of the local society or maybe even in the shoes of the president of the Croatian MS society. I am looking forward to, it because this MS Youth Forum is the right step for the future!

Patrik Puljić
former Youth Representative at the EMSP Executive Committee


Photo credit: Savez Društava Multiple Skleroze
Participants of the meeting establishing the Croatian MS Youth Forum

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