The National Conference

This week Niamh McCarron shares with us her thoughts on the upcoming MS Ireland National Conference.

Isn’t it funny how certain events or a time of year can seem like a fresh start? For many, it’s New Year’s Eve, but for me September has always been the month of “new beginnings”. It probably comes from having teachers in the family growing up. After a long summer of lazing around the house, we were all back into routine once the schools reopened.

Even now, many years past my schooldays, I look forward to September as a time to reset, to set new goals and to have a wee think about how the year has progressed so far.

So, it is timely that MS Ireland hold their annual conference each September. The conference welcomes people with MS, their families and healthcare professionals to come together to learn about MS, treatments and research. I have been going to the conference for a few years and it’s an event I would be disappointed to miss. This year the conference is being held in Athlone, in the Radisson Hotel on Saturday, 22nd September.

This year’s conference is around the theme of “Living well with MS” - I love this topic and think it is such a positive message to promote, that we can all live well alongside our illness.  We often see the negative side of MS portrayed in the media, which isn’t always the day-to-day experience for many of us. The notion that living well, whatever that means to individual people, doesn’t have to stop with a MS diagnosis is so encouraging to me. I will be taking the opportunity of going to this year’s conference to refocus on my own wellbeing.

Last year I wrote a blog post after the conference, summarising the talks and information we received. While writing this piece, I had a look back over the post from last year and the notes I’d taken at the time. I took a few moments to reflect on what I learned last year, to admit that many of my good intentions have slipped since then and I made a few fresh resolutions for the next 12 months. No doubt, some of them will have slipped off my radar long before next year, but for now, I am feeling pleased with myself! You can read about last year’s conference here

If you haven’t been to a MS Ireland conference before, I really recommend going along. The guest speakers are engaging and I enjoy listening to their experiences and about future developments in their work. It is exciting to hear about how the diagnosis, management and treatment of MS has advanced in our lifetime and where it might go in the future. The workshop sessions are smaller and sometimes allow attendees to contribute their own experiences to the discussion, if they want to.

The conference gives us an opportunity to meet other people with MS – it is not often we outnumber the people without it! Attendees can come alone or bring a friend, either way you’ll be warmly welcomed. The price per person is €20 and lunch is included. If you want to find out more or register to attend, please click here

I hope to see you there!

Confirmed speakers:

Professor Gavin Giovanonni, Professor of Neurology Centre: Centre for Neuroscience and Trauma. Research Groups: Neuroimmunology. Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Dr. Jens Bansi, Exercise Scientist; PhD., Rehabilitationszentrum Valens, Switzerland.

Dr. Sabina Brennan, Trinity Brain Health and ADAPT, TCD.

Workshops:

Irish Hospice Foundation, Planning for the future. 

Genomics Ireland, Dr. Kate O’Brien identifying specific patterns in genes in people with MS so as to develop new diagnosis tools, treatments, and better our understanding of disease progression.