Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, whose mum has MS, recently presented our BBC Lifeline Appeal. Here he tells us how his family have adapted to his mum’s MS diagnosis, the importance of speaking out about MS, and why his mum is his biggest inspiration.
How did you feel when your mum was diagnosed with MS?
I knew very little about MS at the time. I’d heard of it but I’d never been directly affected by it, which I think is true of a lot of people and why awareness is so important. My mum felt like something wasn’t right for a long time. I remember us going for a walk and thinking she is far more exhausted than she should be and it just became apparent something wasn’t quite right. In a weird, strange way, when she was actually diagnosed with MS, we were kind of relieved, because we knew what it was, we had a name for it so we could deal with it.
How has your family adapted to your mum’s diagnosis?
It’s our new normal and we know that we really have to plan things. For example, I’m running the Cardiff Half soon and mum’s coming to support me, and planning it is like a military operation. With most people you could be like, hey mum, hey dad, I’ll meet you at the office at 3pm on Friday. Not that simple. I have to think about her mobility and how she is going to get from Waterloo station to the car. Will the car be close enough? Does the driver know she has MS? Where will she wait at Radio 1? Will she be able to manage the walk? It’s things like that. You’ve really got to plan it. Mum has primary progressive MS, which does get worse, and sometimes you don’t realise how much worse it’s got. Six or seven years ago she might have been able to manage, but it just wouldn’t happen now. With travelling in particular, it’s so important to make sure you are prepared.
Do you think your mum’s diagnosis has changed your outlook on life?
It’s made me realise that you never know what’s going to happen so you have to take each day as it comes. It’s also made me realise how lucky I am to have a body that works. I’ve been at the gym recently, and have lost quite a lot of weight, and mum is following my progress and wishes she could do the same. Her mind is willing, but her body just isn’t able. In her head, she thinks she can still run down the street.
She faces MS every day, always with a smile on her face. She’s been through a lot but she is my best friend and she is always there for me
Tell us why you wanted to get involved in the MS Trust’s BBC Lifeline appeal?
I didn’t even think twice about saying yes. I try and do what I can to raise awareness of MS, so when it’s on a major platform like BBC One, it’s always a great opportunity. If you see someone in the public eye, directly affected by it and talking about it on television, it really can have an impact and make people think more about it. If you’re in a position where you can speak to a lot of people, whether that’s on TV or radio, if it’s something that’s close to your heart and affects you, I don’t see why you wouldn’t do that. I got so many nice messages afterwards, hundreds of people who have MS themselves or who have a family member with it, and MS nurses too, saying what a great piece of awareness it was and how thankful they were for the appeal.
What would be your advice to other families facing a similar situation?
The thing my mum is really good at, and she’s aware in her head that it’s getting worse, but generally she remains very positive and we often laugh about it. It’s a horrible condition, but you can’t let it govern your mind. My mum’s a trooper, so she won’t always say anything but I know there are times when she gets so frustrated by it, because she can’t understand why she can’t stand up and do the washing up for 10 minutes. Something that is so simple. But one thing that has helped in the last few months is cycling. She can’t walk like she used to, but the weird and great thing is she can get on a bicycle and go for ages. It feels like she’s got that freedom back. She sent me pictures and she’s having a whale of time! She’s so often cooped up in the house, but the idea she can wizz along on a bike is really cool.
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
My mum, without question. She faces MS everyday, always with a smile on her face. She’s been through a lot but she is my best friend and she is always there for me.
Watch our BBC Lifeline Appeal
The MS Trust was thrilled to be featured in the September BBC Lifeline Appeal. Our appeal was presented by Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, whose mum has MS, and featured the stories of some of our amazing supporters.
Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills "The more we talk about MS, the more others understand"
Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, whose mum has MS, offers his advice for young people navigating the ups and downs of growing up when you have a parent with MS.
Family and relationships
MS can affect personal relationships in many ways but it need not interfere with developing and maintaining connections with other people, including friends, family, partners and work colleagues.
Tune in to our BBC Lifeline appeal
The MS Trust is delighted to announce that it will feature in the September BBC Lifeline Appeal at 2.45pm this Sunday (September 16) on BBC One. Please tune in and help us raise awareness of MS and the work of the MS Trust.