I’m 34 and I’ve had MS for over half my life. I want to stop MS so no other teenager with the condition feels isolated and alone.
I was diagnosed with MS at 17
That was in 2003, I was young and it wasn’t a big deal. I felt a mixture of things, but mainly relief because there was finally an explanation for what was going on with me. Being 17, I thought I was invincible.
I was in denial about my MS
I didn’t know anything about MS before I was diagnosed. I didn’t feel it would impact my life that much. I was active and outgoing and, apart from feeling tired, I was carrying on and living my life.
Now, I would say I was in denial – young, naïve and not wanting to accept it. I wasn’t going to let MS affect me. But MS had other ideas.
My MS journey started with foot drop
My symptoms started when I found it difficult to lift my right foot, also known as foot drop, followed by tremor in my right hand. I developed pins and needles in my feet, then I had a really big relapse.
So now I’ve got double vision, slurred speech and find it difficult to process information. Sometimes even being in a room with a lot of people can be difficult for me.
I never want to see any teenagers with MS feel lonely, isolated and hopeless the way I did.Donna was 17 when she was diagnosed with MS
Isolation and loneliness
I’ve used a crutch, then two crutches and a mobility scooter. I didn’t want to talk to people anymore. I found I didn’t want to integrate anymore and became very lonely and isolated for that period of time.
I went to a conference for young people with MS. When I got there the energy was overwhelming – it was electric! These people were amazing and I finally felt like I belonged.
Since I’ve realised I can help, my experiences are helping other people to get through their own difficult times with MS. And it really does help me to carry on too.
Never give up the fight to stop MS
I wanted to get involved with Stop MS because, for so long, I tried to disguise or hide my MS. And then, there came a point where I couldn’t anymore.
I wanted to use that and my experiences to let people know how it really affects people’s lives. And the fact that when you’re diagnosed with MS, it’s very easy to give up.
But we continue to fight. And so I just wanted to get behind the campaign and show what it’s really like to live with MS.
This film will motivate you, inspire you, amaze you, because we are people who are fighting a battle every day. But we are fighting it successfully. And with your help, we won’t have to fight anymore.
Will you join Team Stop MS?
We’re the closest we’ve ever been to treatments for everyone. We can see a future where no-one needs to worry about their MS getting worse. To get us there we’ve launched our biggest fundraising appeal yet and we need your help.