“When I was first told I had MS, I lived in England with two young children. It was a shock but I made a conscious decision to not let it take over my life. Instead I became very open to talking about my condition, and worked as a mentor for people newly diagnosed with MS.
Before moving to Spain I used to need a wheelchair. I have since gradually realised I was able to walk a lot further than I thought. My walking stick is almost a part of me now and I have a seat stick for some occasions, but I haven’t used my wheelchair for over seven years.
This year I wanted to give back a little because I received some wonderful support and advice when I was first diagnosed. I’m encouraging my friends, family and colleagues to get involved by donating on my JustGiving page and then going for a one mile walk in support. I’m hoping to raise plenty of money along the way for the MS International Federation, the organisation coordinating World MS Day.
I work for an international company of remote workers, and that’s why I decided to make my project a ‘just go for a walk’ type thing, rather than an event where everyone gets together. I’m advertising it on social media outlets as well as our internal company notice board.
When I first told my parents, they were worried that I was taking too much on, so I’ve been telling them how safe I feel during the walks. My husband is always with me and there are benches on various points of the route – I don’t sit down but it’s nice to know I could, if I wanted to.
I would say, challenge yourself but be sensible. It’s good to not let yourself become stagnant, but it’s also important to be realistic. You don’t want to give yourself a challenge so big that it sets you up for failure.
I don’t think this will be an isolated event from me! I’m finishing my walks now, but I’m already planning a 24 mile bike ride…”