So the New Year is well and truly upon us, dry January has passed (and still in
progress) and we are ready for our new Marathon adventure. After years trying to
get a place for the Virgin London Marathon, we have both secured a place to run
the 2019 race on Sunday 28th April 2019, and we could not be more
Our training is now underway and we have also joined the
Prestwich Athletics Club to help us with our training. This year we are extremely
proud to be supporting MS-UK (MS-UK.org) who provide support to those awaiting
a diagnosis for Multiple Sclerosis or for those already living with it, they
also provide access to new treatments, research and to complementary therapies.
A charity like this is something that is very close to our hearts.
So why have we chosen
We moved onto our street in 2003 after taking a leap of
faith in buying a new house in an area that we didn’t really know much about. Then,
in 2004, a lovely young couple named Chris and Claire bought and moved into the
house directly opposite to ours and right next door to our already great
friends Helen & Jamie. We were all of similar ages and starting out with
our grown up futures ahead of us. It wasn’t very long until we all struck up a
great friendship and we started socialising together with dinner parties, boozy
drinks and silly karaoke disco’s in each others houses.
We had formed an amazing triangle of trust between each
couple and began making some truly brilliant memories. We were very lucky to
have such fantastic neighbours that we could now call true friends. All of our
futures were bright.
Soon after moving in, Chris and Claire got married. They had
a beautiful wedding ceremony and celebrations in France. It was their perfect
day and the start of their married bliss. Unfortunately, two weeks later their
world was turned upside down and their future together took an unexpected turn
after Claire was diagnosed as having Multiple Sclerosis. For a couple who were
just starting out on their planned journey, their future was having to be
Fast forward to 2019, and we can now look back and share
what their journey has been so far…..and how MS has affected Claire, Chris,
their families and us as friends.
Anyone who is diagnosed with MS will soon learn that no two
journeys are the same. The body is a wondrous thing, but how MS takes over it,
is different for everyone. We had never had anyone close to us have MS, so this
was all new to us all.
The text books say that MS is a chronic, typically
progressive disease involving damage to the nerve cells in the brain and spinal
cord. How was this diagnosis of Claire’s going to manifest itself?
We have now seen first hand that this disease can be
delibitating. A bright, fit and healthy young lady with a fantastic future as a
school teacher, slowly had the carpet pulled from under her feet by the effects
of MS taking over her body. The past 10 years have been a rollercoaster for
Claire and Chris and everyone around them.
No matter how much fight you put up, the fatigue and
progressive failing limbs can bring the strongest of people down. With that
comes the black depressive days when you realise that your independence is
ebbing away, you feel isolated and being a proud person is a blocker on
accepting the support you may eventually need.
We have witnessed Claire’s battle with MS and her battle
with herself. The ups and downs, highs and lows all followed. The pain,
tiredness, frustration, sadness and steely determination not to be beaten. The intense pressure on both Claire and
Chris would have been a significant test on any relationship. Both have had to
adapt to a life that neither of them planned for or ever wanted. Their love and
strength for each other has been incredible.
Huge decisions had to be made on what their new future could
be. Family and friends also had to adapt their lives to be able to offer love
and support when needed and to take into account Claire’s capabilities,
ensuring she was not being excluded. To watch your wife, daughter, sister or
friend battle with something that you cannot physically help them with is
cruel. How do you react? What can you ask or say? When is it appropriate to
step in? No-one can teach you these things but you have stay strong for that
person and just wait until they are ready to let you in. Even in writing this
piece we sought approval from Claire as she is still a very private person and
contains her situation within those people very close to her.
Eventually realising their limits, Claire and Chris had to
find another single level house where her mobility was not as exasperated. MS
was preventing Claire to live a normal life by taking away her ability to be
fully mobile. It was a very sad day for us all when they left their home
opposite us to move into a house they had to choose because of Claire’s
condition. Fortunately, they didn’t have to go too far, so we have maintained
our fantastic friendships and memory making which we all do with joy!
Through receiving fantastic support from MS specialists and
from the Care Services, Claire and Chris are now living much happier within the
confines of what MS has done to her mobility. They have received some amazing
treatment, adapted their home, lifestyle and accepted care that has been put in
place to support them both. Whilst Claire is physically restricted, she is now
embracing her life and extracting everything she possibly can with a beautiful
smile on her face. Our triangle of trust is now stronger than ever, and the
support network has expanded, with even more very special friends joining the fundraising
team. #go TeamPurple!
Since the times Claire was first diagnosed, there has been
huge progress made on the support people can get from having an early
diagnosis, improved medications and treatments and more research being done.
This is where MS-UK come into their own. The work they do is helping many
people in the same situation as Claire and Chris. It is an amazing charity
which does great things.
We are now looking to support them to raise awareness and
make a difference to the amazing work that they do via our fundraising. We have a £2000 target and need your help to reach it!
Many thanks for your support!
Glen & David xx
MS-UK was established in 1993, and is a national charity dedicated to empowering people with multiple sclerosis to make the most of today, and live life to the full.MS-UK put people affected by MS at the heart of the work that they do. They provide high quality, professional services to support people living with multiple sclerosis, and they listen to people affected by MS.