Sam's MS didn't stop her raising her family or moving across the world, but it did stop her from being able to ride her beloved motorbikes. With the support of her local volunteer group in Larne she's taking up exercises again to help with her balance and strength.
Me and my MS
I’m very lucky with my MS. I was diagnosed in 2003, but there’s lots of things I can still do. I plan to grow old disgracefully, and hopefully on the back of my motorbike!
My MS didn’t stop me from moving to China and didn’t stop me moving to England. But it has stopped me riding my motorbikes. I’ve got two Honda Blackbirds in the garage that I’m determined to get back on. My MS has left me with no feeling in my left leg, and I’ve lost most strength in my right leg. This means my balance is completely off, and you need balance and strength to hold onto a motorbike. So, I started going to my local MS Society exercise classes, set up by local volunteer Caroline. I can see the difference already.
Even if I can’t get to the point I can safely drive the motorbike myself, I’m determined to get strong enough to hold onto my husband and go for a lovely leisurely ride together down the Antrim coast road. Look over the water and see the Scottish glens. Heaven. I’ll have Caroline to thank for that!
Dorset, Larne and Guangzhou
I went to the local MS Society group in Dorset, when I moved to England in 2009, and Larne when I’ve been at home. There’s just so much the volunteers have helped with. I did the exercise class in Dorset too, and found parts of my body I didn’t even know I had! The benefits were endless. I met some fantastic friends who I’m still in contact with. We had our Tuesday gang and I would pick one of them up and go and meet everyone else to have physio and a good natter.
I left Dorset in 2012 and moved to China for my husband’s work. But I had to move back to the UK a few years later because of my MS. My husband needed to stay in Guangzhou a little while for work and fly back and forward. But I had my MS Society gang to keep me company.
MS Society family
That’s the best part about the MS Society groups: the people you meet. We’re a family. We always look after each other. We share knowledge. We have a laugh together. We cry together. Just the way a family does. I’ve got two families now – my regular family and my MS family.
MS Society family in lockdown
It sounds awful, but thanks to our local MS Society groups I’ve had a better social life since the coronavirus lockdown started. We have Zoom video calls on Friday mornings with people from local groups all across Northern Ireland. I’ve got to see so many faces I haven’t seen before and now we’re getting to know each other. It’s brilliant. We’ve also got a regular quiz, which is always hysterical. I’m not good on the movie round, but I’m doing alright on the sports.
I say get involved with your local group as soon as you can. You can be part of the family during lockdown and afterwards.
Volunteer with us
The COVID-19 pandemic means we can’t meet face-to-face right now, but there’s still ways to you can help us be there for everyone with MS. If you can volunteer some time remotely, by phone, video call, or online we’d love to hear from you.
Will you join us?