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Two years ago, my son Alex was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic life altering neurological condition for which there is no cure. About 2.5 million people suffer from MS worldwide, and in the UK more than 100,000 people are affected, with around 14 people newly diagnosed every single day. Many are in their 20’s or 30’s, some in their teens, a time of major life decisions about relationships, family and career. In addition to the physical symptoms, the uncertainty that comes with a diagnosis of MS can be overwhelming, and depression is common in people with MS.
Like many other newly diagnosed MSers, Alex felt he had nowhere to turn for support. Family and friends did what we could, but none of us could possibly comprehend what it was like to be in his position. For the first few months, he struggled greatly with both the physical and mental effects of an MS diagnosis, refusing to try and find support or connect with others, plunging him into isolation and depression.
Then, a Facebook advert revealed the ‘MS Sessions’, a conference in Prague for people with MS, hosted by a charity called Shift.ms and the EMSP. Over 100 young MSers were invited to attend, learn from the speakers, share their experiences, and most importantly, connect with others going through the same thing. The work that Shift.ms put into MS sessions helped Alex turn his life around, and he has started his own blog, regularly posts about MS on Instagram, and also has become a buddy and an ambassador for Shift.ms.
At Christmas he said that 2017 had been the best year of his life. I am immensely proud of him and enormously grateful to Shift.ms for helping him get through some very dark times.
Shift.ms is the social network for people with multiple sclerosis. Founded by MSers, for MSers, the charity supports recently diagnosed people across the world as they make sense of MS. They do this through an online community where thousands of MSers meet, share experiences and support each other.
On the 22nd, 23rd and 24th June I will be walking 70 miles round the Isle of Wight Coastal Path to help raise funds for Shift.ms, so they can keep doing their life changing work, and provide support and community for those with MS.
- £10 raised pays for five newly diagnosed packs to be sent to MS nurses.
- £20 raised helps towards the cost of promoting their site to new members.
- £50 raised helps towards the cost of training MSer volunteers.
You can also follow my training on Instagram. Look for @iow4ms. For non-instagram uses go to https://www.instagram.com/iow4ms
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