Over the last 10 years Anne Thompson, whose son has MS, has been one of the MS Trust’s most dedicated fundraisers. All in all she’s raised almost £15,000 – that’s enough to pay for the writing and printing of our new guides to managing MS bowel and bladder problems. It’s only thanks to the tireless work of people like Anne that we are able to make a difference for everyone affected by MS. We are incredibly grateful for the continued support of Anne and everybody who has fundraised or donated to the MS Trust. Thank you all very much.
How did you first get in touch with the MS Trust?
You know, I can’t remember! I certainly know it’s the best thing I ever did. Over the years they have always been there to answer any questions we had, and have supported us in many ways. Their advice has always been brilliant, and has saved us some heartache and £14,000.
You see many years ago there were clinics abroad who were offering miraculous cures using stem cells. There was a lot of publicity in the press about these clinics and lots of convincing stuff on the internet backing these clinics as the new cure for MS.
My son, who was in his early twenties at the time, was all ready after reading all this hype to borrow £14,000 and fly to Holland when I stopped him and made urgent phone calls to the MS Trust to ask their opinion. They soon convinced us that these findings were untested and unlicenced. Some scams were soon uncovered and in some cases the clinics were closed down.
What made you first start fundraising?
I think I started over 10 years ago. My inspiration for starting to help was obviously seeing the benefits the MS Trust brought to my son’s life and my family.
Over the years I’ve organised quite a few events. We’ve had a big quiz night, my husband did a Scottish Islands open water swim, last year we had a vintage afternoon tea party, and my son has done 10,000 foot tandem parachute jump!
I was lucky enough to be invited by the MS Trust to listen to an address given by Professor Neil Scolding at the House of Lords last October. He explained how important our fundraising was to his team’s research into stem cells, and their potential use in the treatment of MS. So apart from the important information the MS Trust gives us, it is encouraging to see that some of the funds are used on research, and that we are indeed a valued part in the fight against MS.
What do you think has been the most important development in MS care in the last 21 years?
I would have to say MS nurses – they are our heroes! My son, who has secondary progressive MS, recently became very immobilised and in a few days lost the use of his left hand and arm.
I spoke to an MS nurse on the phone who advised me to immediately get a water sample to his doctor, as my son may have an infection. I did and within five minutes of going to the doctors was told he indeed had an infection, which could be triggering all his new symptoms.
Three days later his feeling had returned to his left arm and his grip was getting better by the day. I will always believe that the MS specialist nurse’s advice was the best thing that happened, as it boosted my son to a quick and happy recovery.
How have you seen the MS Trust develop over the years?
The MS Trust has evolved to become a very informative source for everyone affected by MS. They have the most comprehensive collection of leaflets and books on all aspects of MS and its problems, from the newly diagnosed, to people who have been living with MS for a while. It is so important when you are told you have MS to have somewhere to find out more. You can rely on the MS Trust to give you the correct information and advice.