I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in August of 2022; a few months shy of my 31st birthday. A year previously, I went for a scan for an entirely different reason, but the results showed that MS was possibly going to enter my life at some point. Last year, it did.
MS Ireland was my first port of call. It was somewhat difficult to process the news. After I received my diagnosis, I will always remember talking to MS Ireland's regional Community Worker on the phone. She was so helpful and understanding. My call to MS Ireland opened a world of possibility for me that day. I have since attended social gatherings for the newly diagnosed, taken part in the Move Smart exercise programme and attended information evenings on MS. I have learned that things will be different, there will be extra challenges, but I can still live life to the full. MS Ireland has instilled that belief in me.
November marks a year since I began my treatment. I realise how fortunate I am to have such a dedicated support network in place – my neurologist, MS nurse, my local MS Ireland Community Worker, my wife Claire, family, friends, and workplace colleagues. It is for this reason and more that I am determined to raise as much awareness for MS Ireland’s services and fundraising efforts.
November is also the month of the MS Readathon, now in its 36th year. I would encourage young and old to read as much as possible over the coming weeks. And, in doing so, help to raise some funds for MS Ireland, which provides an array of excellent support services – fitness classes, counselling, information seminars, advocacy and much more.
Reading is a big part of my life and has been since my parents read to me as a kid. I would consider myself a book worm! Whether it’s short stories, poems, thrillers, or sports books – I read every single day. And I love it. There are many benefits to reading, aside from the sheer enjoyment. It’s a very mindful activity, a way of escaping the stresses of the world. It also makes us more empathetic, particularly when we read fiction. When we read, our lives are enriched and we can gain valuable knowledge.
If you are returning to reading after a break, start out small. Don’t be intimidated and feel you must read a doorstopper of a literary masterpiece! Magazines and comics are great, while many short stories can be completed in one sitting.
I have numerous book recommendations but my pick for MS Readathon 2023 happens to be my all-time favourite - 'Don’t Skip Out On Me' by the American writer Willie Vlautin. It tells the tale of an aspiring, young boxer who faces adversity as he bids to become a champion in the US. It’s so good, I have read it twice and will probably return to it before too long!!
Why not start your epic journey today and register for the MS Readathon: https://www.msreadathon.ie/register-2023