This month we're celebrating our MS Helpline's 30th birthday. It's an opportunity to reflect on all we've achieved together for our community.
We launched our MS Helpline in November 1991. Every year since then we've supported tens of thousands of people affected by MS. Last year alone, we had over 26,000 enquiries over the phone, email and through Facebook messenger.
Why is the MS Helpline so special?
We spoke to Aleks, one of our helpline volunteers who has MS himself.
“I was left with a real sense of wanting to help”
He remembers the experience of making that first call: "For the first time since my diagnosis, I was treated like a human being - MS wasn’t my defining feature.
"The person I spoke to was kind, caring and took time with me to discuss more than just the question I called about. I was left with a real sense of wanting to help” ”
Volunteering for the MS Helpline
After getting support from the MS Helpline, Aleks wanted to help others. So he applied to volunteer for the helpline himself. We gave him lots of training and provided him with all the equipment he would need to volunteer from home. Aleks has been volunteering for half a day a week since 2011.
“The training we’ve received as volunteers to take calls has been really substantial. Yes, you can be affected by the calls at times - but there’s always someone to debrief with. It's wonderful to feel like I’m helping people.”
Expanding our services
It’s thanks to dedicated volunteers, like Aleks, as well as our trained professionals that the MS Helpline was able to support enquiries from over 26,000 people last year.
Proud of all we've achieved
Abi Stidston and Julie Gaynor are our joint Heads of MS Helpline, they say: “We’re incredibly proud to be marking the MS Helpline’s 30th anniversary this month.
"We would like to say a huge thank you to all the staff and volunteers who’ve supported us over this time."
If you can volunteer some time remotely, by phone, video call, or online we’d love to hear from you.
Will you join us?