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Jiving and managing MS symptoms – on the People’s Strictly

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Being asked to be a participant in the first ever People’s Strictly (Come Dancing) has got to be an amazing thing for any Strictly fan. This is what happened to six lucky people recently. One of them was Trishna Bharadia who was diagnosed with MS seven years ago.

Trishna with Alijaz

Last week, three of the contestants were introduced in the first People’s Strictly programme. Each was chosen for their “tireless and selfless work which has helped change so many lives for the better”. The programme highlighted why each of them had been chosen and showed us their surprise when their nomination was revealed by the BBC on camera in a carefully stage-managed event fitted to each of them. Most people agreed that it was very enjoyable but emotional to watch. And it’s all in a good cause – Comic Relief.

Watch Trishna’s journey
This week the other three participants, including Trishna, will be shown receiving the same kind of treatment. How was her nomination revealed to Trishna? Who is her pro dance partner? And who is her celebrity mentor? What was her reaction like? You can watch all this in the programme on Wednesday 4 March at 9pm on BBC1.

The following programme on Thursday 5 March shows all six contestants as they train hard to dance in front of the Strictly judges. And there are more surprises…….

But what about her MS?
Given that Trishna has MS, how will she be managing her symptoms whilst learning to do a jive, which is a notoriously fast dance? The Strictly process is known to be quite punishing – a combination of hard training, early morning TV interviews, the fun (stress?) of being followed everywhere by a TV crew and the mounting excitement (more stress?) as the day approaches when you will dance in front of the not-always-forgiving judges and the studio audience.

Managing MS well is often a balancing act. You may need to rest, sleep or pace yourself in order to do the things you really want to do. It can mean giving up some things so you can do other things well. I imagine that this is exactly what Trishna is doing. MS doesn’t disappear when you have a big event, all you can do is approach it in the best possible way for you. I am really looking forward to hearing how Trishna has managed her MS all through the Strictly process.

Attitude helps
Trishna was chosen out of over 11,000 people to be on the People’s Strictly. Her profile on the BBC’s Strictly page explains how she has worked tirelessly to help and support others with MS, putting aside her own health issues to help raise awareness and inspire others with the condition.

Last year, she helped the MS Trust by featuring in some videos that are part of Making Sense of MS, our resources for people who are newly diagnosed. We asked her whether anything changed after she was diagnosed. Her attitude will be inspiring to many as her comments include “I seize the day now” and “I grab every opportunity that I can”. Could she ever have imagined that one of those opportunities would be dancing on prime time TV?

You can hear more of Trishna’s thoughts on our video below