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Thank you to the Free Wheelers!

23rd June 2014 by Stephen

Kenny Smith with Robin ReliantCongratulations to MS Trust fundraising superstar Kenny Smith! Over the last 12 years, through countless marathons, treks and bike rides, Kenny has raised over £30,000 for the MS Trust. Five years ago he dreamed up the annual MS Circuit Challenge at Goodwood, which this year is on course to raise over £15,000. And last weekend he and a crew of dedicated friends pedalled over 23 miles in a Robin Reliant and raised another £1000! Below Kenny tells about the day.

On 21 June 2014 12 friends pedalled our modified Only Fools & Horses three-wheel van from The Prince Of Wales Pub in Woodgate to the centre of Chichester then onto the Pier at Bognor, and while doing so raising much needed funds for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust!

The three-wheel van has been stripped of its engine, all working parts and chassis. It has been totally rebuilt as a pedal car by our friends at D & R Structures.

After bacon rolls and coffee we left the Prince of Wales pub at Woodgate at 9:00am and got to the cross at Chichester at 11:30am.

Then we headed for Bognor and reached the Bognor Pier at around 2:30pm

We then pedalled along the seafront and through the town and got back to the Prince at 5.00 for a well earned round of drinks!

It was 23 miles in total. We didn’t have any problems with traffic as we pulled over quite often and we had our own marshals on traffic duty and we had back up vehicles at the front and rear. We all took it in turns to pedal and steer and to collect money on route while dressed up in fancy dress.  We had a lot of interest from the public who were all amazed that our van  was in fact a pedal car, and was human powered!!

In Chichester we raised £190.51 and in Bognor we raised £130.66. Some of the team managed to raise sponsorship for the challenge bringing the total for the day to £1106.17.  That evening we also had an Auction and raised an amazing £815! Plans are already underway for our next Free Wheelers Challenge!


John’s Jump in June Experience

20th June 2014 by Shan Teo

John Ferguson wearing his parachute, getting ready for his jump
John Ferguson from Liverpool took part in a skydive on the 14th June as part of our Jump in June month. Here he shares his thoughts on the experience.

“It was amazing, a really almost indescribable feeling. The day was perfect with glorious sunshine and my jump partner was a real funny guy who made me so relaxed. I had my family there with me and we had a great day. I thoroughly loved it and would recommend to all!

Most importantly I was able to get great support from family, friends and work colleagues, both mental and in terms of money. Final count not in yet and clearly the collecting is underway – but I think I hit the £1k total last weekend.

Having been diagnosed myself just under 3 years ago I have been very fortunate enough not to need tons of help. But knowing that the MS Trust is there for me, and the information I’ve had from them gives me great comfort. So well done the Trust and a thank you from me. It was a privilege getting to do this for such a brill cause.”

If you would like to experience the thrill of a tandem parachute jump yourself it’s not too late! You can take part in an exciting skydive throughout the year. Visit our skydiving pages to find out more.

Reflections on the Great North Run

12th June 2014 by laura.percival

Andy Porter from Chester (pictured right with his daughter Hannah, son Josh and dog Bryn) has run the Great North Run five times in aid of the MS Trust, raising more than £5,700 to help people with MS. As he prepares to run from Newcastle to South Shields again on 7 September, he reflects back on his fond memories of the world’s greatest half marathon.

Andy Porter and family

It’s September 2007. Early autumn sunshine filters through the trees on Newcastle’s Town Moor. Fifty-odd thousand excited, slightly nervous joggers, proper runners, chickens, ballet dancers, wheelchair users, Borats and pantomime horses surround you on the start line of the biggest mass participation run in the UK.

What on earth am I doing here?

A 46 year old who had barely run since my mid twenties I had signed up because it felt like a good thing to do. A way I could at least help raise a little awareness and money for the MS Trust, a charity I’d only got to know as a result of my wife, Kathy’s diagnosis with MS four years previously. I still played a bit of 5-a-side, I walked the dog most days, surely a half marathon can’t be too bad, can it?

In what seems like no time Dire Straits’ Local Hero is blaring out from the PA, Sir Bobby Robson is gamely attempting to shake hands with every single one of us and I am alongside one of my best mates on a conveyor belt of smiling, jogging, walking, waving humanity, wearing every colour under the sun. All with a story, all cheerfully determined to do the best they possibly can.

People waving and smiling. On bridges, by the roadside, one gigantic Geordie family and they all seem to be rooting for you – every note is positive, every voice encouraging. Exhilarating and unforgettable.

The deceptively easy run down to the Tyne Bridge, then across – Red Arrows overhead gleaming out of the blue, the roar as they fly over. This is incredible, better than I’d ever imagined. Looking out for Kathy and the kids at the pre-agreed spot – a little hand-rail at the bottom of some steps, just before the road turns left through Gateshead. There they are – a wave, a smile, a photograph. And then uphill, this is real. Moon River on my mental playlist… “wider than a mile, I’m crossing you in style, some day”. My Mum’s favourite song, and my Dad’s. He was a runner in his youth, I can hear his voice, feel him with me “Come on Andrew, you can do it”.

Get into a rhythm, stay with it – remember the training, you have prepared for this. The 11 mile run to my brother’s house on a hot day the week before, uphill finish without any water – you can do this.

3 miles. Water.

More smiles, pick up a bottle – a few slurps. Keep focused, keep the rhythm. Remember my friend Brian’s advice from the night before “Enjoy it. Engage with the crowd – they will pull you through”. Wish I’d had the pasta instead of a Calzone pizza, maybe that second beer wasn’t a great idea…

The bands. Another mile, another band – driving you on; you applaud them because they are great and it lifts you.

The guy up on top of his shed with his garden hose spraying down the runners in Hebburn to keep them cool. The strictly unofficial Elvis impersonator belting out Suspicious Minds. The kids handing out lollies or jelly babies. The smiles, the waves.

Everyone looking out for each other, everyone doing it for a reason.

11 miles.

Andy Porter running

South Shields. You can smell the sea. A reggae band in the roundabout, more and more people cheering and waving. High fives. A steady incline and the runners quieten, focus on the job in hand, keep working, keep the rhythm.

When you think the finish may never come, the road drops and the North Sea is in front of you. 1 mile to go. One flat, wonderful mile. Then 800m, 600, 400… you find yourself breaking into a sprint, this is it. Leave nothing behind, give it everything you’ve got. Oh, and don’t forget the official photographers at the finish – in year one I contrived to look like a breathless, perspiring bulldog chewing a wasp – with a little awareness this can be avoided.

Then as suddenly as it started it’s over. You’re on another human conveyor belt, leave the ankle strap timer, collect the bag, change your shirt and hang the medal around your neck. A mug of hot sweet tea at the MS Trust tent in the Charity Village, a Mars Bar, banana, more smiles, more Red Arrows. Pure euphoria and a sense of real achievement.

And ever since I’ve had to come back, recapture that feeling, do it again and again. All being well this year will be my sixth Great North Run, our son Josh’s third and daughter Hannah’s second. And my long suffering friends in Gosforth will once again be putting us up and feeding us porridge, driving us to the Town Moor and keeping Kathy company while we all assemble to do it one more time.

It is the most positive experience imaginable, so worthwhile in every way. I’ve never done any other mass participation events so I have nothing to compare it to. But there is something about the heady mix of north eastern hospitality and warmth, flawless organization and that fantastic finale by the sea that make the Great North Run very special indeed. If you are thinking about it, do it. You’ll love it.

Sadly I have no advice to offer on training programmes and fitness regimes as frankly I’ve never really stuck to one. My idea of a “warm down” is a pint of Guinness in Durham City on the way home and fish & chips at the Coast 2 Coast chippie in Kirkby Stephen. Buy good shoes, put an eclectic mix on your iPod (I’ll never forget smiling up a really tough hill 5 miles into a training run to God Give me Strength by Elvis Costello) and get a running app for your mobile. If you have a dog, start to run with him (or her) – that’s how all this began for me. And savour every second of the day.

Finally, always remember why you are doing it – to help the MS Trust continue to fund valuable research and offer hope, support, information and advice for people like my amazing wife, Josh and Hannah’s amazing mum, Kathy.

The MS Trust still has a limited number of places available for this year’s Great North Run – find out how to book your place.

Fundraiser attempts London to Paris triathlon world record

22nd May 2014 by laura.percival

Jo Rodda from London is getting ready to take on a 300 mile continuous triathlon which starts at Marble Arch in London, crosses the Channel and finishes at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. If that isn’t enough, she hopes to become the fastest women ever to complete it, beating the current record of 97hrs 37mins! Here she tells us more about her Arch to Arc challenge.

Jo Rodda

With the help of a support crew, I will be attempting to break the women’s world record for the solo Enduroman Arch to Arc challenge this August. What does this mean? Well, it means I’m having a stab at doing an 87 mile run from Marble Arch to Dover, a 22 mile swim across the Channel and a 180 mile cycle from Calais to Paris.

Am I mad? Probably. But I’m doing it to raise money for the MS Trust after my friend Simon was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis shortly after the birth of his second son, Billy. I have a background in very long distance running and long distance triathlon, and it was hard to find an event that seemed like a big enough challenge to reflect even a fraction of the challenge faced by Simon.

Early on, I decided that I wanted to do something to raise money for MS Trust by completing some kind of endurance challenge. MS Trust is a charity that helped to support Simon and his family right from the start of his illness and so it seemed like a logical choice. Simon is very much involved with this challenge (along with our friends), helping with the fundraising and IT side of things while I am training my socks, swim hat and padded cycling shorts off.

The crew are all preparing for their roles and the reality of what we’ve taken on is really beginning to hit home. I am training up to 9 hours every day with their support and we’re on track for our goal.

Keep up to date with how Jo is getting on with her training and find more information about the challenge on her website. If you would like to sponsor her, you can do so via her Justgiving page. You can also follow Jo’s progress on her Facebook or Twitter.

Jo with her friend Simon and his two children, Billy and Jack

Jo with her friend Simon and his two children, Billy and Jack

My zip slide from the Tyne Bridge

12th May 2014 by laura.percival

MS Trust Fundraising Officer Donna Barton accompanied a group of daring supporters taking part in a sponsored zip slide over the River Tyne on Saturday. Despite her fear of heights, Donna conquered the challenge and she tells us all about it below.

Donna Barton

It’s not natural to stand on the Tyne Bridge with the busy traffic coming back and forth. Nor is it natural to climb up on a wobbly step ladder to lift your legs over and sit on the edge. Even more so, it’s far from natural to then release your fingers (which are now white from holding the rail so tight) and fall through the air attached to a wire! However, this is exactly what I and 34 other MS Trust supporters did on Saturday 10th May.

I am a fundraiser at the MS Trust and I love my job. I am blown away daily by the dedication of our supporters who fundraise for us, raising thousands and thousands of pounds so we can continue to support people with MS. I have helped hundreds of our supporters from the comfort of my desk and many of them have been doing hardcore challenges and large scale events which leave me in awe.

This was why I signed up for the zip slide – I don’t do heights and I don’t like any kind of roller coaster ride so to combine the two is a challenge for me. I paid my registration fee back in December and that was me booked!

As I sat on the bridge, the fear hit me and I started to tell the staff I couldn’t do it and that I needed to get down! Then I got a gentle nudge and before I knew it I was off and I was filled with emotion. Yes there was plenty of high pitched screaming, with some words I shall not repeat, but my head was full of thoughts about why we were doing this. As I was flying through the air (oh yes, I now think I’m Superwoman) I was full of pride for everyone taking part.

To date we have raised nearly £7,000 from this zip slide event and I know there is more money to come in. We are now hoping that this event will raise £10,000, which means so much to us at the MS Trust.

I would urge anyone who is even considering this to DO IT! You can sign up now for our October Tyne Bridge Zip slide and I will see you there!

View more photos from the day on Flickr

Donna's zip slide

RideLondon-Surrey 100 as a lone rider

11th April 2014 by laura.percival

John Nicholson has supported the MS Trust for a number of years and last year he took part in the first ever RideLondon-Surrey 100 event. He completed the event in 6hrs 45 minutes and raised just over £2,000.

John (pictured) tells us how he prepared for the ride and shares his top tips for anyone considering taking part in RideLondon or a cycling event like this.

John Nicholson


As I prefer off-road cycling I chose to carry out the majority of my early training on my mountain bike along the South Downs. I built up to 50 miles off-road using the hills of the South Downs to build good leg strength as I knew the roads in my area would offer little in the way of hill training for Box Hill and Leith Hill.

I got to June and then realised I would have to buy a road bike for these final months of training. I was lucky enough to get a suitable bike from a friend for a couple of hundred pounds, which meant I could sell it immediately afterwards without being out of pocket. One thing you start to realise when fundraising privately is that it can cost you quite a lot of money personally for entry and kit, so I always go second hand where possible and recoup by selling on afterwards.

Bike Mechanics:

The day before the race there was another issue, I suddenly started panicking about tyres after finding a lot of little slits in the road tyres – you never see these on mountain bike tyres! I convinced myself it would end in disaster if I didn’t buy new tyres so this sees me the day before the ride changing the tyres and re-fitting the wheels. I then found that the brake blocks now rubbed massively on the front wheel, so much so it wouldn’t run free! After three hours of mild panic, and visions of slogging out 100 miles on a mountain bike, I managed to strip down the brake and put it back together in better working order… PHEW!

I also had my gears serviced one month before the event, only to find out that they were worse than when I took it into the bike shop! The lesson here is make sure you leave enough time to check out your bike following any work that you or a bike shop has carried out. There is a bike mechanic at the start point though for any dramas on the day.

The Ride:

When you book your car parking for the event make sure you consider how well you know London as you need to find your car from a different point at the end – more on this little adventure later!

The start area is large with plenty of toilets, the bag drop, and water facilities. There are a few places to buy food for the ride such as energy bars and, as mentioned above, there was also a mechanic’s tent for last minute concerns.

The start is managed as well as a mass event can be, but as you can imagine there is a lot of waiting around as all the waves get called up. The buzz as you move closer to the start gets more and more intense and you feel your adrenaline pumping waaay before you need it to.

Once started, the miles flew by. I found that my average speed was much higher than in training and before long I had readjusted my time from 9hrs down to 7hrs. And very quietly I was thinking I would do even better than that! If this is your first long road ride, like it was for me, don’t be fooled by those first 40 miles as I was – it’s adrenaline that’s making you faster not a sudden, overnight, leap in ability!

One target I had set myself was to do everything possible to ride all the hills, no pushing, just ride! I had in my mind that Box Hill was the one that might challenge this target the most, but actually Leith Hill was harder. But I managed it with burning legs.

The feeling of riding on closed roads was amazing. Sometimes I found myself in a group which pulled you along and allowed you to chat and forget the discomfort. Other times I was alone with only a couple of other riders in sight, which gave me time to think about how things were going, how much my backside hurt and how far I could go with the amount of fluid I had left in the bottles.

Box Hill arrived and was lined with spectators. It was really hard going, but a great feeling as you rode over the names of riders like Wiggins and Cav painted on the road. The support from the spectators was amazing throughout. I found myself going from quiet country lanes with only my thoughts for company and a few cyclists dotted around, to rounding a bend into a town or village to be met with shouts and claps of encouragement. It was an amazing feeling and really spurred me on.

The ride was not without its challenges both mentally and physically as you can imagine over 100 miles. Once I got to 75 miles things got a little tough. The bike pump that had been rattling for 75 miles now became a major source of irritation and was eventually removed and squeezed into a pocket. The queues at the water stations became a waste of valuable time rather than a social occasion. The crowds cheering brought on a weird emotional feeling rather than the adrenaline buzz of earlier, and my legs were shot! Thinking back now this is where the faster than average pace in the first 40 miles came back to bite with a vengeance. Every little hill – despite the crowd telling me “It’s OK there are no more hills” (LIARS!) – every little incline was a Box Hill and this last 25 miles was rather tough to say the least.

Then I was back in central London, riding past the various landmarks, realising it was close to being over, realising I had completely smashed my anticipated time of 9hrs and also the revised time of 7hrs (I do have a leaning towards pessimism when predicting race times).

And here was The Mall, the cacophony of noise from the spectators banging the plastic sponsor signs which lined the finishing straight was just awesome! The pain was forgotten for those few hundred meters and elation filled me, and a little bit of pride I think. Next thing I know I am having my photo taken with my medal and wandering around in a bit of a daze, wondering what to do next. I plonked myself down under a tree in Green Park (I think) and proceeded to drink and eat the contents of the goody bag. Once all was consumed and feeling slightly sick I got up to figure out a way to get back to the car.

After the ride:

Now I won’t go into the detail of what occurred next other than to say that it involved lots of pedestrians, China Town, Leicester Square, quite a few bridges, a lot of internal swearing, and two hours of car park hunting. And to top it all off I was stopped by a lady with a bike who asked if I wouldn’t mind fixing her puncture for her as I looked like I might know a bit about bikes! I fixed it with a tired smile.

So, going back to my point right at the beginning, make sure you plan a route back to the car or park close. Even better than that, have someone collect you and take you home.

It was an amazing event, I’m so very glad I did it and would recommend it to anyone.

Top Tips:

  • Make sure your bike is serviced and had everything done that you need at least two weeks before the event.
  • Remember tyre levers, puncture kit and pump
  • Bring two water bottles
  • Bring something to carry food in such as a bum bag or frame bag
  • Don’t start off too fast
  • Make sure you are comfortable with your saddle and shorts
  • Remove any annoying rattles – it will drive you insane at some point no matter how small
  • Make sure you are absolutely sure how to get back to your car
  • Take it all in, enjoy the crowds, and enjoy the traffic free roads
  • Do some hill training!

Find out how you can take part in the 2014 RideLondon-Surrey 100 for the MS Trust

Monster Ski update from Chamonix

18th March 2014 by laura.percival

The MS Trust’s sixth Monster Ski challenge is currently underway and 15 skiers are out in Chamonix, France, attempting to ski the height of Mount Everest every day for three days, all in aid of the MS Trust! Russell Hardy, Chair of Trustees at the MS Trust, is taking part in the challenge and he will be sending us regular updates, which you can read below…

DAY 1 – Monday 17 March

The first day of the Monster Ski challenge was unbelievably hot! The temperatures reached 20 degrees in the early afternoon. As a result, all the Monster Skiers were out very early to try and reach their goal of 30,000 vertical feet every day. With the help of two great ESF ski instructors, Fred and Beatrice, the intrepid international crew of Monster Skiers achieved their objective with time to spare to enjoy the late afternoon sun. There were no injuries but day two is certain to include many aching muscles!!

Monster Ski group

Monster Ski group in Chamonix

DAY 2 – Tuesday 18 March

Day two was again an incredibly hot day. We headed to Grand Montagne at the other end of the Chamonix valley for another early start. The day consisted of more hard and fast skiing, particularly in the morning as we tried to beat the ever rising temperatures. The sky is very blue but the spring sun makes the snow very slushy from midday onwards.

The trip is proving once again how much people who come on the Monster Ski love it. Equally we have had a number of people asking us about the challenge whilst we are on the slopes and we have had people donate to the MS Trust cause who have seen us rushing past them.

We again achieved the goal of 30,000 feet despite increased tiredness from us all, but as we approach the third and final day we can see the end is in sight.

Monster Ski group in front of snowy mountains

Members of the Monster Ski group on day two

DAY 3 – Wednesday 19 March

The final day of the Monster Ski started with more glorious blue skies. Under very icy conditions the Monster Skiers worked hard to complete their mission before the combination of tired limbs and slushy snow made things too difficult. However due to their commitment everyone achieved the goal of skiing the vertical height of Mount Everest every day for three days.

For future Monster Skiers it really is a significant challenge but immensely rewarding and all who have taken part this year would thoroughly recommend it for future participants. For those who have sponsored us this year we are immensely grateful. We all appreciate the demands placed on us all to give generously to worthwhile causes but the money you have given will have a real impact on people with MS and their families.

To celebrate the 2014 Monster Ski an Awards Ceremony was held on the last night. The winners were…

1. Award for youngest ever person to complete the Monster Ski – Amelia Chambers
2. Award for party animal of the trip and not looking wrecked the following day – Mitchell Longhurst
3. Trip Advisor guru Joint Award – Michelle McLaughlin and Kathleen Hannon
4. Most prudent and tidy skier award – Stephen Matthews
5. Cheeky chap award – Rory Watson
6. “I can ski on one leg if I need to” award – Paul Grout
7. The Franz Klammer award for speed and occasionally reckless skiing – Chris Biagini
8. Tidiest and most understated quality skier award – Boozy North
9. Perfect form and style despite massive back pain award – Del Hopgood
10. Best father for carrying his daughters skis everywhere award – John Chambers
11. The Madam Faff, dark horse skier, bit of a bandit award – Sarah Burgess
12. The most understanding partner award – Breanne Biagini
13. The surprisingly loud snoring and irritating good skiing award – Robbie Hardy

Monster Ski group

Russell Hardy

Find out more about Monster Ski

Fundraiser Megan takes on her next challenge

26th February 2014 by laura.percival

Following a cycle ride from Wales to Switzerland last year, for which she raised over £1,500 for the MS Trust, Megan Brooks from Yorkshire has now set her eyes on her next fundraising challenge.

Megan on her bike

Last year was pretty crazy. I bought a really thin bike, lost a lot of sleep, cycled in ice and rain, cried a fair bit, and learnt a whole lot about tough love. But, as a result, 10 months after starting training, I did cycle over 1,000 miles from Wales to Switzerland with two truly awesome people (my brother Ryan and his girlfriend Jen). I never would have thought it possible, but it has taught me that hard work and perseverance really pays off. Even more rewarding was the phenomenal support we received from all of our incredibly generous friends and family.

I’m now temporarily putting aside my clippy shoes and donning my Nikes to do a Forest Gump and try to RUN for a reaaaally long time.

On the 2nd March 2014 I will be running the Anglesey Half Marathon with my brother, Luke! We plan to run the Island Race in under two hours and will be doing so in aid of the MS Trust, which is a very special and important cause to us.

The longest running distance I have achieved up until now is my Race for Life 10K I did in July last year. So I’m aiming for double now! Training has been quite tough. I’ve run in wind and rain, up hills, and through puddles and mud to get prepared for this event. And now I get to run a beautiful route along the coast of Anglesey in North Wales with my brother. All to raise money for the wonderful MS Trust, an inspiring charity that helps so many people and touches so many people’s lives, including our family’s.

This run and the money we raise is a thank you for all the hard work and a contribution towards the continued help and inspiration this charity provides.

Megan Brooks

Visit Megan and Luke’s sponsorship page for the Anglesey Half Marathon

Read the blog from Megan, Ryan and Jen’s Wales-Switzerland cycle ride

MS Trust fundraiser Anne Thompson

20th February 2014 by Shan Teo

Over the last 10 years Anne Thompson, whose son has MS, has been one of the MS Trust’s most dedicated fundraisers. All in all she’s raised almost £15,000 – that’s enough to pay for the writing and printing of our new guides to managing MS bowel and bladder problems. It’s only thanks to the tireless work of people like Anne that we are able to make a difference for everyone affected by MS. We are incredibly grateful for the continued support of Anne and everybody who has fundraised or donated to the MS Trust. Thank you all very much.

Anne Thompson

How did you first get in touch with the MS Trust?

You know, I can’t remember! I certainly know it’s the best thing I ever did. Over the years they have always been there to answer any questions we had, and have supported us in many ways. Their advice has always been brilliant, and has saved us some heartache and £14,000.
You see many years ago there were clinics abroad who were offering miraculous cures using stem cells. There was a lot of publicity in the press about these clinics and lots of convincing stuff on the internet backing these clinics as the new cure for MS.

My son, who was in his early twenties at the time, was all ready after reading all this hype to borrow £14,000 and fly to Holland when I stopped him and made urgent phone calls to the MS Trust to ask their opinion. They soon convinced us that these findings were untested and unlicenced. Some scams were soon uncovered and in some cases the clinics were closed down.

What made you first start fundraising?

I think I started over 10 years ago. My inspiration for starting to help was obviously seeing the benefits the MS Trust brought to my son’s life and my family.

Over the years I’ve organised quite a few events. We’ve had a big quiz night, my husband did a Scottish Islands open water swim, last year we had a vintage afternoon tea party, and my son has done 10,000 foot tandem parachute jump!

I was lucky enough to be invited by the MS Trust to listen to an address given by Professor Neil Scolding at the House of Lords last October. He explained how important our fundraising was to his team’s research into stem cells, and their potential use in the treatment of MS. So apart from the important information the MS Trust gives us, it is encouraging to see that some of the funds are used on research, and that we are indeed a valued part in the fight against MS.

What do you think has been the most important development in MS care in the last 21 years?

I would have to say MS nurses – they are our heroes! My son, who has secondary progressive MS, recently became very immobilised and in a few days lost the use of his left hand and arm.

I spoke to an MS nurse on the phone who advised me to immediately get a water sample to his doctor, as my son may have an infection. I did and within five minutes of going to the doctors was told he indeed had an infection, which could be triggering all his new symptoms.

Three days later his feeling had returned to his left arm and his grip was getting better by the day. I will always believe that the MS specialist nurse’s advice was the best thing that happened, as it boosted my son to a quick and happy recovery.

How have you seen the MS Trust develop over the years?

The MS Trust has evolved to become a very informative source for everyone affected by MS. They have the most comprehensive collection of leaflets and books on all aspects of MS and its problems, from the newly diagnosed, to people who have been living with MS for a while. It is so important when you are told you have MS to have somewhere to find out more. You can rely on the MS Trust to give you the correct information and advice.

This article is from our free quarterly newsletter, Open Door. Sign up to receive your copy by post or email, or read the latest edition in full.

Going boldly through the blue

20th February 2014 by Nicola Pates

Zipwire in Newcastle

Photo © Liam Smith

When Liz Hilland from Country Durham found out she had multiple sclerosis in 1999 she knew very little about it and feared it was an end to the life she knew. Since then she become involved in raising funds and awareness to help others understand more about MS and show that life goes on after diagnosis. Last year she took part in a zip slide from the Tyne Bridge as part of our Be Bold in Blue campaign.

When I was first told I had MS I’d never heard anything about it. I thought that was it. I had a one-year-old and a three-year-old and I thought my life was over.

I wanted to fundraise to raise awareness that you can still be positive. I didn’t want people in the same situation as me thinking it was the end – it’s not.

The first thing I did was a collection in a supermarket dressed as Santa, shaking a bucket. Various people were coming up to me, tearful and completely taken aback that I had MS too.

I work full-time in the entertainment department at Sainsbury’s and they have been really good since my diagnosis. Last MS Awareness Week I got everyone in my department to wear MS Trust T-shirts as part of the Be Bold in Blue campaign. We had wristbands and pin badges on the counters with collection boxes. An MS specialist nurse came up to me in the store and said “I’m so pleased about what you’re doing”. I had been trying to get in touch with an MS nurse so I took her number and I’m seeing her now!

Last year I took part in a zip slide off the Tyne Bridge to raise funds for the MS Trust. I don’t know why I did it – it was so high! The man said “Don’t look over the bridge,” so of course I looked over. I kept thinking “sponsor money, sponsor money, sponsor money…” I screamed from the second I jumped off until they told me I’d finished! It was a really good day, people loved it.

Sometimes I push myself too hard so this year I’m going to take it a bit easier and do nice things like cake sales and helping out at the MS Trust’s zip slide event. Both my daughters are doing it and I’m really looking forward to it. Some of my friends and colleagues are taking part and one of them has already raised £400.

Be Bold in Blue fundraisersFor this year’s MS Awareness Week, Be Bold in Blue goes large!

This year’s MS Awareness Week takes place from 28 April to 4 May and we hope that lots of you will get involved. MS Awareness Week gives us all a chance to help others understand what it means to live with MS. Any activities you can arrange locally or online will help us to reach out to more people who could benefit from our support.

Once again we’re running our Be Bold in Blue fundraising campaign and we can provide you with ideas and materials to support you in whatever you choose to do.

This year we’re also introducing Be Bold in Blue Goes Large which gives you a chance to really think big and plan a fundraising and awareness event on a larger scale. The money you raise will help us continue to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information about MS through our website, publications and enquiry service.

Find out more about how you can take part in Be Bold in Blue 2014. 

Sponsored zip slide in Newcastle

For the MS Trust’s own Be Bold in Blue Goes Large, we’re organising a sponsored zip slide in Newcastle across the River Tyne on Saturday 10 May. Visit our zip slide pages or get in touch on 01462 476707 to find out how you can take part. Keep an eye on our MS Awareness Week website for all the latest updates and information.

Get involved!

There are loads of ways you can get involved and support our work helping everyone affected by MS. Here are just a few ideas. Find out more on our fundraising pages.

London to Paris cycle ride

Join our team for this classic cycle challenge connecting two stylish capital cities. Various dates available between May and September.

DFIC Super Hero Run

Fancy dress 5K or 10K fun run in London’s Regent’s Park on 18 May. Join our team of super heroes for this accessible family event.

British 10K London Run

Wear your MS Trust T-shirt with pride and run 10K through the streets of London alongside 25,000 others on 13 July. 

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100

Cycle 100 miles along closed roads on 10 August, following a route from the London 2012 Olympics.

Bupa Great North Run

Run the famous 13.1 miles from Newcastle to the coast at South Shields on 7 September, in the world’s biggest half marathon.

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