Questions about MS? Call us on 0808 800 8000
Zach Jewkes during an MS Walk

Taking steps to give something back

Zach Jewkes

Zach has raised £4,525 for us since 2019 by taking part in our MS Walks. He tells us what inspired him and what the experience is like.

I was diagnosed at 19 — much younger than the average age. I began to feel some tingling in my toes. It spread up my legs and finally resulted in my losing all feeling from the waist down. After years of various treatments, I’m much better than when I was first diagnosed. While I still have odd side effects and rare small relapses, I’m much more active and motivated than I used to be. I work a standard nine-to-five job, which my employer has made extremely comfortable and accessible to me. 

Walking has benefitted my health

My initial inspiration for fundraising was to raise awareness of MS and give back to everyone who helped me during my initial diagnosis. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed that I realised how little I, and my friends and family, knew about the condition. So I was determined to play a part in getting the word out. I was inspired after seeing similar events for other conditions and found the MS Walk when I was looking for something to get involved with in aid of MS.

I do generally enjoy exercise, and do it as often as I feel I’m able to. Following my diagnosis, I originally participated in the 10km MS Walk. But, since then, I’ve been challenging myself with the 20km ones. I’ve found that even short walks have been extremely beneficial for my health. Choosing to do simple things like walking to the shops near my home rather than driving has gradually but unmistakably benefitted my health — both when preparing for the MS Walks and more generally too.

Everyone’s extremely friendly

I do the MS Walks with my girlfriend and friends. But the whole crowd of walkers is extremely supportive throughout the event — whether they’re participating because they have MS or just care about the cause in general. So nobody should feel worried about signing up to walk on their own. There will always be someone with you for mutual support and everyone’s extremely friendly and welcoming.

One of the sweetest experiences I had during the London MS Walk 2021 was when a magic busker flagged us down as we were walking past. We got into a conversation about the event itself and MS in general. They donated cash directly to us for the MS Society. This really emphasised to me that even people who are not directly taking part in the event are paying attention and are definitely willing to contribute to the cause!

Feeling recognised

Receiving a Volunteer Impact Award for Fundraising from the MS Society was completely unexpected. When it arrived in the post, I was immediately caught off guard. I’ve always been proud of what I’ve done for the MS Society, but having it acknowledged as an award directly from the charity was extremely heart-warming. I was honoured to know the volunteering I’ve taken part in didn’t go unnoticed. And I was proud that I’ve positively impacted the MS Society. Needless to say, my friends and family were extremely proud too!

More MS Walks in 2024

My partner, Jess, and I will be participating in the Birmingham and London MS Walks in 2024 — doing the 10km and 20km walks respectively. We’ve begun our fundraising and are already on our way to achieving our initial target! 

View Zach's Just Giving page

Find the right event for you

The MS Society offers a wide range of fundraising events, not all reliant on physical activity. The recent Game Over For MS appeal was all about playing whatever kind of video game you wanted, however you wanted. People participated in different ways, such as live streaming. These types of events are open to anyone. They allow people to get involved with fundraising without having to worry about their mobility, while still doing something they’re passionate about.