How Actress Rachel Miner Is Advocating For Accessibility On Set – Exclusive

When Rachel Miner was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she was starring as the demon Meg Masters on "Supernatural." Having experienced a plethora of unsettling symptoms over a long period of time, the diagnosis wasn't a complete shock to Miner, but more an answer to what was going on in her body. "I think I also covered my symptoms for maybe about a year, year and a half," she told Health Digest in an exclusive interview. "I just kept kind of like ... keep trucking, I'll figure this out, didn't know what was going on."

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the nervous system, in which a person's antibodies start attacking the brain and spinal cord (via Mayo Clinic). During a relapse, damage is caused to the protective coating (myelin) on a person's nerves. Lesions form, disturbing the nerve pathways to the brain, which causes myriad symptoms, from mobility loss to intense fatigue to excruciating pain and cognitive issues.

Since her diagnosis, Miner has learned to advocate for herself and other people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. Here's how the actress is advocating for accessibility on set.

Learning to become an advocate

Not every workplace is as accessible as it should be, and that can be said of TV and movie sets, too. Following her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, Rachel Miner realized that much advocacy needed to be done to ensure that disabled and chronically ill people could safely work in the entertainment industry.

"I did some work in a wheelchair with MS," Miner told Health Digest. "And it's a really hard thing because I'm so grateful to the people taking the chances, and putting those opportunities [out] there, and trying that. But I'll tell you, their sets are not accessible. There's a lot of lack of understanding."

Miner quickly realized that it's often in these awkward moments that people are able to put accessibility measures in place. "I feel like we have to actually have the people who are willing, who are open and willing to try, because by trying, we learn," Miner explained. "And I think it's not until I'm showing up with a wheelchair and someone took the chance on hiring someone with a wheelchair that then we realize, 'Hey, so there were all these obstacles to overcome, and all these things that weren't thought through.'" Through her own advocacy, Miner is helping make huge strides for other actors living with health conditions.

Follow Rachel Miner on Instagram. Learn more about multiple sclerosis at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.