Louise lives with MS and is a Befriending Volunteer on our Pontio project in Wales. She’s been supporting Pam, who lives with advanced MS, since 2019.
The two have a chat about the difference this has made to their lives.
Louise: Hi Pam, it’s Louise. How are you this week?
Pam: Yes, I’m very good, plenty going on. I’m just trying to do as much as I can.
Louise: Oh that’s good, I’m really glad to hear that. I know how important it is for you to keep moving.
Pam: It’s not only the physical is it, it’s most definitely the mental health as well. When we could only go out for one hour a day exercise, just to see the sky and the trees and hear the birds, being out amongst nature really helped my mental health.
Louise: Do you know Pam, it’s been at least three years that we’ve been talking – time has absolutely flown.
I absolutely love volunteering. I really wanted to be involved a bit more and know more about my condition and give a bit back.
I see first-hand the amazing results that we get, whether it’s befriending, helping with benefits or care, or talking to employers about how to support people. Can you remember how you got involved?
Pam: I just felt very alone. I felt nobody understood me, mainly because of the MS. I felt I just needed to reach out to somebody who could understand my condition. Who could understand why I have good days, why I have bad days and who could help me through those bad days.
A few years back I went into a deep depression and that landed me in a very bad place.
When I reached out to the MS Society, and they offered help, that was literally a lifeline for which I’ll be forever grateful.
Louise: I think you are right, we are a lifeline for many different people for lots of reasons.
It gives me great joy to know that something we volunteers have done has made a difference to another person’s life. Seeing the joy on your face when something has been achieved that you thought you wouldn’t be able to do, does it for me every time.
It just brings so much happiness and confidence back to my life.
I would definitely encourage anybody to volunteer for the MS Society. You haven’t got to spend hours and hours a week.
One hour a week is totally sufficient to spend on a befriending call. I just think you will have so much back from volunteering, it’s absolutely worth it.
How do you feel Pam, would you encourage someone to join up to one of our programmes like befriending?
Pam: Yes, without a doubt. I’ve got family who love me, I’ve got friends who love me but they do not understand the condition. I would encourage anyone who has MS to get a volunteer at their side.
There’s people who can help you through many highs and lows.
Louise: And sometimes it’s just about having a chat. It’s also just to know that somebody is listening to you and that’s what we are there for as well.
I cannot wait to meet up in person, it’s been way to long. So as long as the weather’s good we’re meeting up for coffee.
Pam: Oh definitely, with the long range forecast, we’re due a heatwave in June, so we’ll be sitting down on the marina with a lovely latte and a good old natter.
If you live in Wales and would like to become a Pontio Befriending Volunteer or would like a support call, please contact [email protected]
Volunteer with us
Whether it’s offering support, raising money, managing social media accounts or volunteering for the MS Helpline – across the UK there’s lots of ways you can help us be there for everyone with MS.
Will you join us?