Mum sets a high bar for MS char­ity

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

A NORTH Lon­don mum who was di­ag­nosed with mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis 10 years ago will climb Mount Etna next month to launch her new char­ity.

Toni Krok is es­tab­lish­ing MS Pos­i­tive with the help of friends Ja­nine Op­pen­heim and Pam Pines. She will be joined by two dozen sup­port­ers and medics on the fundrais­ing chal­lenge.

Cov­er­ing more than 50 kilo­me­tres over three days and as­cend­ing around 2,000 me­tres, the group hopes to raise at least £40,000 to pro­vide prac­ti­cal and emo­tional sup­port to those with MS and their fam­i­lies.

“When I heard the words ‘mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis’ I im­me­di­ately thought I was go­ing to spend the rest of my life in a wheel­chair,” Ms Krok re­called.

“Over time, I came to un­der­stand that MS af­fects every­one dif­fer­ently. Like ev­ery­body else, I have good days and bad days. I have learned how to look after my­self and re­sponded with pos­i­tive think­ing, ex­er­cise and healthy eat­ing.”

But talk­ing to oth­ers with the dis­ease, the High­gate Syn­a­gogue mem­ber re­alised that “many were less well sup­ported than I was and found it harder to be pos­i­tive about liv­ing with MS”.

Her ini­tial response was to fundraise for the MS So­ci­ety, “an amaz­ing char­ity. But still I felt some­thing was miss­ing. I wanted to pro­vide the be­spoke sup­port that, with the best will in the world, is al­ways a chal­lenge for an or­gan­i­sa­tion on the scale of the MS So­ci­ety.”

MS Pos­i­tive will work within north Lon­don, com­ple­ment­ing ex­ist­ing char­i­ties and net­works. “We will be the MS char­ity with the can-do at­ti­tude — and what bet­ter way to show that than to climb an ac­tive vol­cano?”

By next year, it in­tends to of­fer a helpline, a reg­u­lar pro­gramme of ex­er­cise classes and a range of fo­rums for in­di­vid­u­als and their fam­i­lies.

The plan is to hold its first free class on Novem­ber 19 to co­in­cide with Mitz­vah Day.

Toni Krok

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