Susana and her family migrated to New Bedford from São Miguel, Açores, Portugal when she was 18 months old. After graduating New Bedford High School, she decided to go to UMass Dartmouth, in hopes of attending medical school afterwards.
After the counsel of friends and teachers, who told her that her that she would be better as a nurse and that she shouldn’t uproot her family to move to Worcester, she decided to pursue a career in nursing. She graduated UMass Dartmouth with her degree in Bio and then went to BCC, where she received her associates in Nursing.
She worked in several departments throughout hospitals and long-term care departments, in love with her new career. She got to the highest position she could with her education at the time and went on to complete her Masters degree. Shortly after her graduation, she self-diagnosed herself with multiple sclerosis, referencing the material a friend gathered during her Master’s thesis. After a visit to a neurologist and some tests, her diagnosis was proven true.
Multiple Sclerosis effects those diagnosed in two ways, physically and sensory. Some become immobile and others lose the feeling in their extremities, and in Susana’s case, she lost feeling to parts of her hands and arms. With her newly diagnosed illness, she didn’t want to succumb but raise awareness of it, starting the Susana Viera Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. With this non-profit, the team holds an annual fundraiser, this year’s being held on March 31st, and with funds raised at the event we provide adaptive equipment, 6 scholarships every year to graduating high school seniors, money for research, and support the Helping hands transportation program designed to offer wheelchair van transportation for people with neurological diseases like MS.
“Do as much as you can for others while you can because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.”
Faces of New Bedford is a project by Colton Simmons. If you are interested in booking a shoot or getting prints from the series email all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
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