Art fo­cus for mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis ap­peal

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

‘‘I love art. I think that if I didn’t have MS I would never have dis­cov­ered it.’’

For­mer emer­gency depart­ment nurse He­len Suther­land had to give up nurs­ing, a great love of her life, when she de­vel­oped MS or mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis. She still misses the ED.

‘‘I loved that job. I loved it. I went from that to noth­ing.’’

A chronic dis­or­der of the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem, MS has de­bil­i­tat­ing ef­fects on the brain, spinal cord and op­tic nerves.

There are sev­eral dif­fer­ent types and Suther­land has been di­ag­nosed with what is known as pri­mary pro­gres­sive.

She still drives, with hand con­trols fit­ted to her car, but her in­de­pen­dence only goes so far.

‘‘It’s dif­fi­cult when you are so in­de­pen­dent, and then you can’t do things any­more. I can’t fix a light­bulb. I have to rely on some­one else to do those kinds of things.’’

Suther­land can still paint though.

She will be con­tribut­ing art­works to the MS Cen­tral Districts Art Ex­hi­bi­tion that opens next Wednes­day, Au­gust 31 and runs through un­til the end of Septem­ber at the Square Edge Gallery.

The mum of five, with two teenage daugh­ters and teenage triplet sons has been an en­thu­si­as­tic sup­porter of the art group that reg­u­larly meets at MS House in Walde­grave St.

‘‘You have to make the ef­fort to get out,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s not all that easy to just pop into town.’’

Fel­low MS suf­ferer Ste­wart Wat­son won’t be ex­hibit­ing at the ex­hi­bi­tion. His tastes run more to au­to­mo­tive sculp­ture.

The for­mer pan­el­beater has re­stored a 1970 VW Bee­tle, and is a mem­ber of the Ash­hurst Po­hang­ina Gun Club where he runs the bar.

Wat­son has a type of MS known as re­laps­ing re­mit­ting, and can still drive with­out the need for hand con­trols on his car.

‘‘For the first cou­ple of years I didn’t have much to do with the MS So­ci­ety, but when I did come in they gave me sup­port with ev­ery­thing from med­i­ca­tions to help with WINZ.’’

MS Aware­ness Week starts from Mon­day Au­gust 29 with the an­nual ap­peal day on Fri­day Septem­ber 2.

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about the dis­ease, ap­peal or art expo con­tact 357 3188 or .


MS suf­fer­ers Ste­wart Wat­son and He­len Suther­land, and some of the forth­com­ing MS art expo ‘‘stars’’ for the so­ci­ety’s an­nual ap­peal week and Square Edge art ex­hi­bi­tion.

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