This September, I will be running the Great North Run for the first time. For years I have watched the run on TV. However last year I went to watch it in person, in support of my cousin Elle. The passion and enthusiasm I saw at the start and finish lines just blew me away and I thought to myself, “I want to be a part of this.” Within a few weeks, I had signed up to run for the MS Trust.
I have seen first hand the effect that multiple sclerosis can have on an individual and their life. My mum Julie, who lives with secondary progressive MS, was diagnosed with the condition in 2004. I was 12 at the time and had never heard of MS. My mum explained to my sister and me that she had a condition that affected her nerves, and that it caused her to trip and drop things much more frequently. As the years have gone by, my understanding of the condition has improved, allowing me to provide much greater assistance to my mum whenever she needs it.
My mum is the most inspiring person I know. She still works full time as a consultant dentist, despite having had the clinical side to her career taken away due to loss of feeling in her hands. Even after a full and tiring day at work, she remains cheery and is always willing to help or make time for a chat.
I asked my mum to say a little bit about her diagnosis and what it has meant for her:
“Multiple sclerosis stole my clinical career at a time when I felt I was achieving a lot, and it's meant I haven’t been able to progress as much as I would have liked. Nonetheless, it has made me appreciate how being focused can help you to get over any setbacks in life. I know there are so many people with MS that need support. I want to stay as positive as I can because I believe positivity and belief in research is key.”
We are currently comparing training schedules as my mum has also signed up for the Great North Run. I am looking forward to sharing a (sweaty) celebratory hug with her at the finish line.
Let's do this!
So here we are, only a few weeks from the big race. I am feeling apprehensive and excited, but above all I am proud. I am proud that I have undertaken this challenge, alongside my boyfriend Jack. I am proud to be running for the MS Trust and supporting the vital work they do for people living with MS throughout the UK. Finally, I am proud to have such a strong, loving and hardworking woman as both my mother and best friend.
This one’s for you Ju!