Art focus for multiple sclerosis appeal
‘‘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.