Photo: Janice Winehouse in MS Society T shirt cuddling her cat on her sofa

Janis Winehouse on becoming our newest Ambassador

It’s such a lovely honour to be named an MS Society Ambassador. MS affects more than 100,000 of us in the UK, so being able to spread the MS word around the larger community is really important to me.

There’s still a lack of awareness around MS, so my husband Richard and I would like to go and visit more MS Society Support Groups – there’s over 270 – around the country. We want to speak to people affected by MS and show that having MS is not the end – there’s so much more you can do.

Being part of the MS community

The MS Society has helped us to be sociable with people, and we’ve made some good friends from all over the country.

A highlight over the past eight years has been the annual MS Walk. Whatever the weather, there’s a great sense of comradery and it’s fun. We want everyone to join in and try an MS Walk!

Living with MS

I was diagnosed with secondary progressive MS in 2003, but starting experiencing symptoms almost 40 years ago. Sadly in 2009 I was forced to stop working due to my lapses in concentration when I was driving - I worked as a locum pharmacist, so driving was essential. I also found it difficult to cope with the constant fatigue. At the time it was heart-breaking as I'd lost my total independence as a person and was becoming reliant on others. It was a huge lifestyle change and challenge.

Now, I just carry on as I am. Mentally, I’m fine, but my walking has deteriorated by 50% in the last 10 years. I get by using a walking stick, Richard’s arm and occasionally the wall at home. I try to fill my week with activities – from swimming to physiotherapy – and I never miss my weekly local Hatha yoga class. Exercise makes me happy.

Taking part in the MS-STAT2 trial

It’s a really exciting time for MS research, and I’m actually taking part in the MS-STAT2 trial – the biggest trail for secondary progressive MS in the UK, which could finally find a treatment to slow disability. I’m excited for what the future holds and will work hard to keep growing awareness of MS.

We're very excited to welcome Janis as our newest MS Society Ambassador. Catch up with her and the team at MS Walk later this year.