|If you’re reading this, you probably want to know why I enjoy helping people with Multiple Sclerosis – whether I’m raising awareness, I’m fundraising or I’m helping to match people up with the help and information they need.
Well... there are lots of reasons! But the story really began in 1995 when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
In a way, I was lucky. I was training to be a nurse at university, so there were clued-up people I could turn to for help and advice.
But I realised that, while most people have heard about ‘Multiple Sclerosis’ and ‘MS’, not many know much about it – partly because clear, useful information about the disease can be thin on the ground.
Diagnosis to campaigning
Almost as soon as I was diagnosed with MS, I really wanted to get out there and make a difference. I began fundraising for the Solent MS Therapy Centre, also spreading the word among fellow nurses, doctors and therapists.
But I was determined – like most people with MS – to live a completely normal life. I qualified as a registered nurse, and then went to work in an acute hospital for plastic surgery patients. My main love, though, was the community side of nursing, so my next move was to become a district nurse in the Windsor area.
It was a great choice for me. I loved the work, and in my spare time I supported the MS Society by sitting on local management committees, fundraising and helping people to learn more about Multiple Sclerosis. I gave talks on healthy living and eating, and I also helped make sure the local NHS systems were suitable for supporting the introduction of MS Nurses to Berkshire.
Success to setback
My nursing career took off and I loved nearly every minute of it. In 2007, I qualified as a District Nursing Sister and Community Public Health practitioner. Promotion within the NHS followed, and I soon found myself working on behalf the London Strategic Health Authority, Department of Health, higher education institutions and other organisations that needed to buy in quality education provision.
Then came a slice of bad luck. Later in the same year, I suffered blood poisoning and complications after suffering a very rare reaction to a Multiple Sclerosis chemotherapy treatment. I became seriously ill and had to look carefully at new ways of managing my condition.
Recovery to discovery
I made – in the words of my MS Nurse – miraculous progress. To be totally honest, I feel blessed to be alive and I believe my experiences give me a real insight into the challenges faced by Multiple Sclerosis sufferers and their families, friends and employers.
That’s what motivates me to carry on campaigning and to share my story with you.
The race is on...
Even today, many people have a limited understanding about MS, and this can lead to unnecessary fear, anxiety and even progression of the disease. That’s why I believe it’s important for me to provide support, raise money and direct people to organisations such as the MS Society and Disability Support Services.
So, now I’ve made a significant recovery I’ve thrown myself into work that benefits people with MS. Recently, I’ve been proud to do these things:
Supported the MS Trust by completing an amazing ride in a two-seat dragster
Worked with Santa Pod station Nitro FM to raise awareness about Multiple Sclerosis on the radio, including co-presenting at the European and UK finals.
Helped to set up a brand-new Berkshire drag racing team and it’s doing wonders to raise awareness about MS .
Back in 2007, I never dreamt that I’d ever take part in a competitive sport again – let alone an extreme one. But this year I’m going to be racing for Team Edge!
Would you like to join in?
Thank you for taking the time to read about me, and what I do. If you would like to know anything about my work, or have any questions about Multiple Sclerosis, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Wish me luck as I get behind the wheel – it’s a privilege to make a difference in such a way.