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Achieving a lifelong ambition

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Anne and Jim

We support the MS Trust because they have always supported us, as a family, giving us information whenever we have been unsure of anything MS related

Anne and Jim Thompson have organised many fundraising events and challenges over the years, from Easter egg tombolas to open water swimming. Anne tells us why they support the MS Trust and about her husband Jim’s latest challenge to trek the length of the UK

Jim and I have supported the MS Trust for over 20 years. My son was diagnosed as a 21-year-old young man with relapsing remitting MS, which very quickly progressed to secondary progressive MS, but he had in fact had undiagnosed symptoms since he was 12 years old.

We support the MS Trust because they have always supported us, as a family, giving us information whenever we have been unsure of anything MS related. We have turned to them for the facts around lots of misleading press and TV reports about so-called ‘cures’.

Jim’s most recent challenge is his most adventurous, walking over 1,300 miles from the most southerly point in Great Britain to the most northerly point, via the west coastal paths. It’s his lifelong ambition to complete this walk and it coincides with his 60th birthday year.

At the time of writing, he is on day 30 of 105 and has already completed over 400 miles, walking through and photographing the beautiful Devon and Cornwall coastline. He’s been sending back stunning pictures on his Facebook updates, much to the delight of his many followers. To date he has over £4,000 on his Virgin Money Giving page, and has been encouraged by the generosity of strangers along his route who have stopped him and donated. He has met many people whose lives are affected by MS who have shared their stories with him.

As we have been fundraising for many years we have done most of the usual things to raise money. Mine have mainly involved selling my home-made crafts and cakes at coffee mornings, whilst Jim has done most of his fundraising activities outdoors, including taking part in the Great North Run, and wild swimming and walking the islands of the Inner Hebrides. Stephen, my son has also done skydives and a zip wire from the Tyne Bridge, so it really is a family effort which has raised over £27,000 for the MS Trust so far.

We hope the money raised will go to help everyone affected by MS because information, especially at the point of diagnosis, is probably just as important to people with MS as their MS specialist nurse and research into this terrible disease.

More and more specialist nurses are needed. They can be a vital point of contact when new symptoms appear as they are the ones most knowledgeable in the ways to help. I have found ours, Barbara Wingrove at Sunderland Royal Hospital, a constant source of information and reassurance when flare-ups occur. Barbara is retiring this year and will be greatly missed, I’d like to thank her for everything she has done for people with MS and their families.

For anyone thinking of becoming involved in fundraising for the MS Trust, I can honestly say it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Apart from the obvious benefits to people with MS, I have met and had my life enriched in many ways and by many lovely people along the way. I hope with all our help this disease will one day be conquered.

As Open Door goes to print, Jim will be passing through the Glasgow area, on track to finish his epic journey in Dunnet Head on 30 August. If you would like to find out more or sponsor him you can visit


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