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Alex's story: raising awareness at school

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Alex in an MS Trust T-shirt

When 11-year-old Alex's mum was diagnosed with MS she didn't know much about it and felt very worried.

Since then Alex has learned a lot about MS and so when MS Awareness Week came around she wanted to help others understand more about the condition. Here Alex explains how she raised awareness and funds at her school.

My name is Alex and I first heard about MS when my mum got diagnosed in 2015. It was scary to think that Mum had a disease that could not be cured.

I didn’t know much about it at first, I just knew that my mum was always a bit clumsy. At first she didn’t want anyone to know about it and I sometimes got upset at school and I had no one to talk to.

In February this year Mum had her first big relapse. I was worried, thinking the worst, but as she got better she decided to tell people and now I don’t feel as alone in dealing with things. Mum had got some books from the MS Trust and I read them and this taught me that MS is not as bad as I thought it was.

MS Awareness Week

When it was the Be Bold in Blue week I wanted to get involved and tell people and raise awareness of the disease, also to show that my mum is still the same person. I spoke to my head teacher and asked her if the school could do something to raise money for the charity. We arranged that everyone in the school would wear blue and bring a donation.

At our weekly assembly of the full school I told everyone what MS is and how it can affect people. First of all I asked two pupils to join me on stage. I made one of them kneel down so that their legs got a bit numb. I then presented a powerpoint that I had made informing people about MS. Then the pupil who was kneeling down I asked to stand up, they stumbled and I informed the school that this is what it is like for people living with MS.

The other pupil then put on ski gloves (which are very bulky) and I asked them to tie their shoelaces. They struggled with this and were unable to manage the task, again showing what it can feel like. My dad had also given me two pieces of electrical cable to represent a spinal cord. One of them was damaged and I explained that this was like a spinal cord in a person with MS, and that the electrical signals don’t get received as quickly.

A fantastic result

We raised £211.35 on the day and I hopefully passed on some of the information that I learned from the books my family had received.

I feel really happy that I can now talk to my friends about my mum and they understand if she is having a lie down when they come to visit. I’m moving to high school after the summer and I hope that I might be able to do this again there in the future.

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