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MS Awareness Month, Wear Orange!

March is officially Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month and the color representing this disease is ORANGE! We were honored to do a photo shoot with Heidi Peterson, who was diagnosed with MS in 2015. Her story is an inspiring one as she is an accomplished professional and multi-title pageant winner.

We learned from Heidi that often MS goes undiagnosed because the disease can be different for everyone. She's on the cover of our March issue and wearing one of our favorite VanderRose Gowns that is a cheerful orange color. Her full story is in the magazine but we're highlighting some of it here. You can download the FREE full digital issue at the following link to

Welcome Heidi, we are honored to have a chance to meet with you and learn more of your story. To start off with, please tell us provide an introduction to set the stage for more in-depth conversation.

My name is Heidi Petersen, I’m 48 (turning 49 in March), born in Frederick, Maryland and moved to Utah when I was 13.

Most of my professional career was spent in public healthcare which I stepped away from when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2015.

I was the 2022 Ms. USA Elite and the 2023 Ms. World Universal Elite.

I am currently the International Director for Revolutionary Pageants and I am a multiple sclerosis warrior, advocate, and ambassador.

I believe that compassion and kindness are two of the best characteristics someone can have. I learned this from my grandparents and live my life this way.

You never know what a person is going through in life and the way you treat others can have a significant impact.

Why is MS a personal mission or passion for you?

After being diagnosed in 2015, I found that living through the challenges of MS fueled my passion and desire to make a difference not only for myself but for others living with this disease.

I made the decision to become an ambassador and advocate for multiple sclerosis so I can raise awareness and make a difference with legislation affecting healthcare issues.

I have also found that there is a much higher prevalence of MS in blacks than previously indicated and educational resources and research have been largely absent within our population.

When did you learn you had MS, or when did it start and develop?

In 2012 I started experiencing stroke-like symptoms and I had no idea what was going on. Prior to this, I was extremely healthy, took no medications, and was active. After almost 3 years of being misdiagnosed, in July 2015 I received my multiple sclerosis diagnosis.

How has your life changed since learning you have MS?

Obviously MS has limited my abilities but what I like to focus on is that it has helped me find my voice. I see the urgency in speaking my truth and the need to have a voice for those who don’t. It has also forced me to listen to myself and to know and listen to my body.

I still have really bad days both physically and mentally, but my journey with MS has helped me navigate these days with more grace.

We are sharing a few of the images from the photo shoot we did with Heidi. She absolutely is an MS Warrior, head on over to download the full issue and read her INSPIRING story!

BTW, to celebrate the first anniversary of VanderRose Magazine, and in an effort to continue to grow globally, we now offer all digital downloads of VanderRose Magazine, current and past editions, for FREE! We appreciate all our readers, if you like our blog and magazine, take advantage, download, read, and share!

We certainly learned more about MS from Heidi and were inspired by her story. Don't miss reading the full interview!



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