MS Awareness Week gets message out there
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, often strikes people in the prime of their lives.
Such was the case for New Plymouth’s Jillian Smart who was diagnosed at 25, but says in hindsight she probably had it since she was 16 years-of-age.
‘‘A lot of people out there don’t know what MS is and think it’s an old person’s disease,’’ Smart said. ’’I didn’t really know what it was, I just knew it was bad.’’
MS is an auto-immune disease of the central nervous system and can be unpredictable and progressively disabling with a raft of symptoms.
Over time Smart’s leg went numb, she had pins and needles in her feet, her vision deteriorated and developed tremors in her hands. Today she can walk, but uses an electric wheelchair for better mobility.
MS Awareness Week and Street Appeal 2017, runs August 28 to Sunday September 3.
‘‘A lot of people don’t understand what MS is or how it affects people’s lives. MS Week is a time to get the message out there.’’ said Multiple Sclerosis Taranaki field worker Moira Paterson.
A small group gathered for an afternoon tea to discuss with New Plymouth Labour candidate Corrie Haddock issues affecting people diagnosed with MS and their families.
Haddock said it was important to have an insight about the needs of people in his electorate.
‘‘What I learnt today is there is a real need for more resourcing and supporting people with MS and they are not getting the support that they need.’’
Multiple Sclerosis Taranaki field worker Moira Paterson, left, and
Jillian Smart, who was diagnosed with MS when she was 25.