Following James’ diagnosis of MS in 2016, he and his wife Lianne struck on a unique idea.
The couple set up Mr Monkey Sox, a Community Interest Company, selling their eye-catching monkey branded odd socks.
“MS is a life changing diagnosis but Mr Monkey Sox has helped us feel more positive, supported and in control,” James said.
James, a doctor, has always loved monkeys and wears odd socks. Lianne, a designer, brought this to life by creating a cheeky monkey character with ginger hair and blue eyes like James. And so Mr Monkey Sox was born!
“He has MS, it has damaged his nerves so messages get crossed. His body acts and feels different left to right, a bit like the ‘Odd Sox’ he wears and we sell to support our charities,” Lianne told us.
Mr Monkey Sox is a not-for-profit, Community Interest Company limited by guarantee. “We donate a 50% share of net profits equally between our three partner MS charities (MS Society UK, MS Trust and MS-UK). The remaining profit is re-invested into new stock and new ideas to donate even more money,” James explains.
The company has even caught the eye of Channel 4’s Jon Snow (pictured above)! “Mr Monkey Sox was lucky enough to meet friend Jon Snow who is famous for his choice of socks and great dress sense. He not only wore Monkey Sox on the channel 4 news but also kindly donated to our charities.”
Life after an MS diagnosis
James was pursuing a career in anaesthetics and intensive care medicine, and has now switched to general practice. “This allows me to better manage my symptoms, from fatigue and blurred vision to leg weakness.
“With Mr Monkey Sox we aim to open conversations and change perceptions of MS, raise money for our three partner charities and encourage an active lifestyle.
“We want to promote how important exercise is to managing MS symptoms and how beneficial the physical and mental benefits are for everyone, MS or not."
Bringing people together
On Sunday 10 March 2019 James and Lianne held their very first Monkey March, a 14km or 4km route in aid of the MS Society, taking in the beautiful riverside of Teddington, Hampton Court and Kingston.
Lianne says, “Starting from small beginnings with 36 marchers (who are already signed up for 2020), let’s hope this can grow and we have more towns joining in next March!”
Make a difference at work like Mr Monkey Sox – get in touch with our corporate fundraising team