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30 years of our MS Helpline: your stories

Back in 1991, our MS Helpline started taking your calls. It’s been here ever since, providing information and emotional support to everyone living with MS – and has lots of new services, too.

Whether you have MS yourself, or are a friend or family member – our MS Helpline is here for you. 4 people tell us what it’s meant to them.

“After my MS diagnosis I need to talk about my fears and feelings”

Head shot of Shana smiling.

I called the MS Helpline when l was first diagnosed with MS 14 years ago. My friends and family were absolutely wonderful, but I needed to talk about my fears and feelings without worrying about upsetting the person l was talking to.

The helpline gave me that anonymity and distance. l was really nervous when l called the MS Helpline for the first time and l remember stuttering, "Hi, um, l don't really know why I'm calling..." The person on the other end was really kind and reassuring. They asked gentle questions until suddenly l started pouring everything out.

The MS Helpline has been there for me at the hardest moments of my MS journey. And l know they will be there for me again if l need them in the future.

Shana

“The MS Helpline helped me through a time when money was tight”

Sasha stands outside, with some trees behind her.

Being a single mother who had been in hospital 3 times in a year with MS relapses, money was tight and I didn't know what to do. I turned to the MS Society for help to see if there was anything I wasn't tapping into.

The MS Helpline’s benefits adviser helped me step by step through the PIP application process. They gave me advice on what to say at the interview and went over what I had written for my Work Capability Assessment.

I don't think without that help I would have been able to get through that financial challenging time. It really did make me feel as if there was someone else that cared and could take the time to help me.

Sasha

"The MS Helpline helped me find exercises that work for me”

Kaz stands in her house holding her little dog.

I was diagnosed with MS 17 years ago and I first called the MS Helpline in January this year. I’d tried to clean my hallway floor and I couldn’t get up onto my feet again. I was feeling scared about the things I couldn’t do, so I decided I needed to get more support.

I was put through to an MS nurse, and then I was referred to Emily, the physical activity specialist. She phones me regularly and has been a godsend.

I talked to her about strengthening my arms and legs, and she sent me some links to some workout videos and exercises I could do. Not everything has suited me, so it’s been about tailoring it to what works for me. The exercises for balance have helped tremendously. At first I would have to hold onto furniture to do them, but now I can do them not holding onto anything – if being a bit wobbly!

I’ve become very nervous about going out, but Emily helps me set goals to do a certain number of walks each week with my little dog Digby. She helps to motivate me and is such a star.

I value the helpline’s support so much. With it, I know I can cope with things. I feel stronger in myself, not just physically but mentally and emotionally too.

Kaz

Read our information on staying active with MS

“After calling the MS Helpline, I began volunteering on it”

Headshot of Aleks wearing a headset taking an MS Helpline call

I phoned the MS Helpline after I was diagnosed because I was having a difficult time with my employer and I wanted to understand what my rights were.

For the first time since my diagnosis I was treated like a human being – MS wasn’t my defining feature. The person I spoke to was kind, caring and took time with me to discuss more than just the question I called about. I was left with a real sense of wanting to help and so I began volunteering [on the MS Helpline] as soon as I could.

Calls range from people in tears, asking for emotional support, to professionals asking for information. We also have experts on hand to help with specific questions, too. The majority of calls are from people with MS but we also have a large number of people affected by MS, like family or employers, asking for help and information too, and that’s great.

I have all the equipment at home to help me with the role. The training we’ve received as volunteers to take calls has been really substantial. Yes you can be affected by the calls at times – but there’s always someone to debrief with. It is wonderful to feel like I’m helping people.

Aleks

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