After I was diagnosed with MS in 2018 I started volunteering. I wanted to show people newly diagnosed with MS that you’re not alone.
Helping people newly diagnosed with MS
I volunteer as a Living Well with MS Facilitator and facilitate the virtual sessions. I sit alongside one of the MS Society’s Programme Co-ordinators in a Digital Chat Room and share ways I have found to manage MS, the techniques and skills I have learnt to help me live well with MS, and how I overcome obstacles.
How volunteers helped me after my diagnosis
I wanted to volunteer with the MS Society because of the support I received from Mutual Support (the Armed Forces MS Support Group) when I was first diagnosed.
The realisation that you are not alone and being able to talk to other people living with MS really helped. I thought I could use my life experiences to help.
Volunteering has helped me open up
To me the most beneficial thing about volunteering to deliver the virtual sessions is being able to help people realise that they are not alone. If I can advise on how to manage something a little better, I feel so good and I feel an immense sense of achievement.
I think I have opened up a lot since volunteering and I share how MS affects me physically and emotionally. There are a lot of women and not as many men signing up to the Living Well with MS sessions, so I hope I encourage more men to have an open mind and come along to these sessions.
I would say to anyone thinking of volunteering to grab it with both hands. Sometimes just being able to share your experiences and methods you have used to overcome a challenge is enough to make a difference.