On Saturday 7th May, I will be walking 40km (the furthest distance I have ever walked in a single day) across the South Downs in aid of MS Research, a dedicated Multiple Sclerosis (MS) charity committed to research that will make a real difference to those who have MS and those who share their lives.
Back in April 2011, I walked Offa’s Dyke (a 177 mile National Trail) in aid of MS Society after a family member, after several years of symptoms, was diagnosed with MS. During the challenge, as I talked to people about the condition, it moved me just how many people’s lives have been affected by MS, not just those with the condition, but their friends and family.
After completing the challenge, I began to experience symptoms similar to a previous issue I had with my back. After a physical problem was ruled out, I was sent for a MRI scan and diagnosed with ‘clinically isolated syndrome’ – a single attack on the central nervous system. After a second attack in November, and another MRI scan, I was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS. Living with MS is unpredictable and has been described as being a bit like going on a rollercoaster: blindfolded – you have no idea what is coming, you cannot get off, and sometimes it is going to be scary and sometimes a relief.
MS is an autoimmune disorder which affects the central nervous system, caused by the immune system attacking the protective sheath surrounding nerve fibres. MS is unpredictable, and symptoms vary from person to person, but can include problems with balance, fatigue, numbness, visual problems and muscle stiffness or spasms, and in some cases can lead to severe and permanent disability. MS can be a difficult lengthy process to diagnose, but it is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults – around 100,000 people in the UK have the condition. It is complex and unpredictable – there is no cure, and treatments that are available are effective in only certain cases for some of the time (thus far, with a few adaptations, my everyday life is largely unaffected by the condition).
No matter how small, every donation will go towards making a real different to people with MS. Please give generously at: http://www.justgiving.com/daylightgambler
The route starts and finishes at Chichester Racecourse and takes in some lovely parts of the South Downs (the route is below). The whole walk will be shared live on Social Hiking, as well as tweets, photos and maybe even a video or two!