Liam Rice was nominated for the national award by one of his patients who said: “he is so supportive and positive and so kind. One in a million”. Liam has been working as an MS Nurse Specialist for four years at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield. He is part of a team of six MS nurses who support around 2,000 people in the area who are living with the neurological condition multiple sclerosis.
“You don’t do the job for that kind of accolade,” said Liam when we spoke to him about his nomination. “But it’s nice to know that people value what we do. We’re a point of contact for people with MS – there if and when people need us. Someone they can talk to who understands where they’re coming from. I like the variability of MS nursing. You are able to make a real difference in people’s lives. Even something as simple as being able to refer people to a service they didn’t know existed can be a big help.”
“I’d always fancied doing something like this”
Before Liam received his nomination, he had already signed up to take part in a 4-day sponsored cycle ride from London to Paris to raise funds for the MS Trust, a charity he feels very close to. “I’d always fancied doing something like this,” he said, “and it’s a big challenge for me as I only took up cycling two years ago. My kids think I’m a bit lazy and I want to show them I’m not! Also, I want to make people more aware of MS and try to make it less frightening for people when they are newly diagnosed”.
As one of just a few hundred MS Nurse Specialists in the UK, Liam really values the work the MS Trust does to support nurses like him and wants to give something back. He said, “The MS Trust, for me, has been fantastic and really supportive. People don’t always remember that nurses on the front line need to have access to up to date information and research to give to the people we support. Having the MS Trust as a resource is invaluable, it makes my job a lot easier.
“I’ve never ever done anything like this before, never even a sponsored walk. I’ve bought a new bike and I’ve spoken to lots of friends who cycle and have got tips from them on what to wear and what to eat. I am now a Mamil (middle-aged man in lycra). I commute eight or nine miles a day, three or four times a week and I’m building up my distances at weekends.”
“I’m asking everyone I know for sponsorship”
Alongside training for the cycling, Liam has to raise £1,450 in sponsorship and he’s already got a few fundraising ideas in the pipeline. “I’m doing the usual, asking everyone I know for sponsorship, using social media too. I’m also drafting a letter to companies asking for support. I play drums in a band and I’m thinking of doing an event with my band and a friend’s band in Sheffield to raise funds.”
If you would like to support Liam’s fundraising efforts by sponsoring him, you can do so by visiting his online fundraising page.
There are still places available on the London to Paris cycle ride, which takes place from 4-8 September (other dates are also available). Visit our London to Paris web page for more information.