Next Sunday, May 30th, is World MS Day when the charity Multiple Sclerosis Ireland asks us all to support the over 9,000 people in Ireland living with MS, the most common debilitating neurological condition affecting young adults in Ireland.
The theme of this year’s World MS Day is ‘connections’ and the campaign is about challenging social barriers and stigma that can leave people affected by MS feeling lonely and isolated.
The campaign is an opportunity to advocate for better services, celebrate support networks and champion self-care and will involve:
Ardee woman Sorcha Boyle describes the importance of making connections with other people with MS.
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"Almost we soon as I was diagnosed, I made a conscious decision to find other people with MS” she said.
“There is no MS in my family, I am the only person in a large extended family who has it. My local branch in Louth have been fantastic and it is largely down to connecting with other people with MS in my area that I have been able to maintain a positive mind-set towards living with multiple sclerosis.
“I am actively engaged with branch activities and am a committee member. Covid over the past year has meant that our traditional get-togethers and support meetings have been massively curtailed, but we are a resourceful bunch and have moved to online zoom coffee evenings and exercise sessions until such time as we are all able to come together again.
On a personal level, I contracted covid during the second wave, in mid-October last year. I was very anxious, as I had started Ocrevus five months beforehand, in the midst of the first wave, and was worried that my immunosuppressed self would have little to fight it with.
“Two weeks prior to my testing positive for covid, I had had the seasonal flu and pneumonia jabs, and I genuinely believe these jabs helped me to avoid becoming seriously ill with covid.
“It is now seven months since I had covid, I've had my second full dose of Ocrevus (two days ago!) and I also had my first covid vaccination in March, I will get my second and be fully vaccinated by mid June.
“Being able to connect online has been invaluable in these times but I am very much looking forward to seeing everyone again! I have found my tribe courtesy of MS and it's going be fantastic to see them all in person soon, covid has meant that I've also gotten to know people with MS from other parts of the country too.
“Vaccination is our way out of this, I urge you all to get vaccinated, there will be a time when we'll look back on covid, and be awestruck at how it fundamentally changed the world. We can tell our grandchildren in the future how we all lived through a global pandemic!
Happy World MS Day to you all, and I'm very much hoping we will get to have our national conference next year, and keep on making those connections!
For more information on Multiple Sclerosis visit www.ms-society.ie or call the MS Information Line 1850 233 233 which is available Monday- Friday 9:30am- 1-30 pm. All calls are strictly confidential.
Find out how you can support the work of MS Ireland HERE
A fun way to celebrate World MS Day 2021 is by entering the MS Ireland virtual balloon race which will involve 9,000 virtual balloons flying, one for each person in Ireland living with MS. Using algorithms, live weather systems and Google maps, the virtual balloon racing platform allows balloons to behave, fly and burst just like real balloons. The balloons will be virtually launched from the MS Care Centre in Bushy Park, Dublin on 30th May at 9.pm.
You can purchase and track your balloon(s) by clicking HERE or the advert below.
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