New year’s dip anyone? Read Chris’ story today!

In this guest blog, we celebrate our first Fundraiser of the Month of 2018!

Find out more about how Chris Leslie took on a new year’s dip in aid of MS-UK…bbbbrrr!

Chris New Year Dip_2

‘Happy New Year’ was still circulating around the web, mobile phones were recovering from meltdown. Some people were recovering from the night before.

No such luxury for me, I had been offered the opportunity to have a new year’s day ‘dip’. It was the good people at Bognor Regis swimming club who offered me space.

I thought this was bit special, so I accepted on the basis that I could raise funds for a charity of my choice, so having done many daft things in the past for Justablefriends and other charities, I decided that this was to be a charity that was really close to me, I chose MS-UK.

A simple choice really for me as I’ve seen what multiple sclerosis (MS) does to people, and the effect it has on people and families. I can’t claim that I can help to find a cure for MS that will help those close to me, but I can raise a few pounds to help towards the support work that MS-UK get involved with.

So, I set up the link to donate to my Page for the charity. I then got on social media, and it turns out that there were a lot of people either affected by MS, or, who knew someone that was. Alternatively a lot of nasty people that just wanted to see me get cold!

When I realised that this was the case, (that there were a lot of people affected by MS) I contacted MS-UK to let them know what I was doing. They provided the shirt for me that I just about managed to squeeze into (too much turkey I think over Christmas).

At the time of publishing this, running total for funds raised is £195 plus gift aid, with some more pledges to come. So my big thank you goes to all those that sponsored me, thanks to the swimming club for making it happen (unofficially) and also to MS-UK for the chance to tell people about the work they do.

And just before it gets too late, ‘happy new year to you all’ and if you talk about doing something like this, follow it through, because the feeling is great (the cold isn’t).



Posted in Charity, Chronic illness, Do your own thing, Fundraiser of the month, Fundraising, MS, MS-UK, MS-UK Services, Multiple Sclerosis, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Guest blog: Less than sixteen weeks to the London Marathon!

Wes Javis tells of his fundraising efforts to boost his Virgin Money London Marathon total for MS-UK and offers some tips on getting those all important funds…

Wes blog postLess than sixteen weeks to go! That was the somewhat terrifying realisation that came to me after the indulgences of Christmas. In less than four months, along with so many people with such inspiring stories to tell, I’ll be lining up to run the Virgin Money London Marathon – something that I’ve always wanted to do, and to have the opportunity to run for MS-UK is just fantastic! I’ll be running in memory of my Nan – she lived with MS for around 20 years and was bed-bound for the last 10 years of her life. Despite her cruel reality, Nan was always upbeat, always saw the bright side, and always wore a beaming smile. It is a smile that I’ll never forget and she is the reason I am motivated to take on this challenge.

When I first realised that I’d be running the marathon I pulled together a quick fundraising schedule. I belong to quite a small, close-knit friendship group and three of us are running in London for different causes. Rather than competing in our fundraising we decided that it was in everybody’s best interests to collaborate in our events to maximise our fundraising potential. To date we’ve organised three large events, all of which proved to be fantastic successes and surpassed our expectations!

On 12 August, we kicked things off with a golf day as we knew that after August there would be even fewer guarantees with the Great British weather! We contacted a few local courses and found one close-by which offered great rates for good causes. We negotiated a great price for breakfast and lunch with two rounds of golf – they even threw in a pint of beer per head! The turnout was fantastic and we maximised our income by running a small raffle, and a few competitions including ‘longest drive’ and ‘nearest the pin’. After splitting the proceeds three ways we made a great early contribution towards each of our targets.

Then came our afternoon tea event on 23 September. I’ll be honest and say that we initially came up with this one after scratching our heads about what the ‘mums would like’! The reality was quite different and we needed a bigger room than anticipated after a great response from colleagues, family, friends and even friends of friends. Again, we located a venue that offered us a private room for free and a reduced cost per head. Another small raffle helped us on our way – pestering local businesses for prizes has really paid off and each raffle has raised nearly as much as the events in their own right – a great way to raise extra pennies and to have a little fun doing it!

Our Curry Night on 10 November was our most recent event, and the biggest yet by far! We found a local restaurant. We set it up as a public event on Facebook and once again the response was incredible, on several occasions we increased our booking until we reserved an entire floor! Somewhere in the region of 200 people joined us for what was a great fundraiser. We’d taken deposits, so even the handful of people who didn’t make it on the night contributed to our total. Our third raffle included an iPad, donated by one of our employers, which generated huge interest and took our combined profit on the night to £1,600.

We may look to run a further event in the next few months, but equally we may avoid doing so to give our poor friends and family a well-earned rest!

If I can take any key messages away from the fundraising experience so far, or pass on advice to any of the other MS-UK fundraisers, they’d be:

  • Call upon the generosity of local businesses. Do not be deterred by polite rejections, you’ll get 20 of those for every donation! Craft an email and scour the web for email addresses, what’s the worst they can say?!
  • Don’t underestimate your friends and family! Spread out your fundraisers and they’ll keep coming back whether it’s a curry, a quiz or even a sports day. The possibilities are endless.
  • Most importantly, don’t be overwhelmed by the total you must raise! Break it up into chunks, plan month-by-month and you’ll soon be on your way!


Posted in Charity, Chronic illness, disability, family and MS, Fundraising, Guest blog, London, Marathon, MS, MS-UK, Multiple Sclerosis, Running, supporters, Uncategorized, Virgin Money London Marathon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Meet the counselling team!

In October last year, we launched MS-UK Counselling, a brand new service for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS). We were delighted to welcome Nileema to the team as our Counselling Coordinator, and in December Jonathan and Wendy joined the team. We are all BACP registered or accredited, have many years of counselling experience and are trained in working with people with MS. So we think it’s time you get to know the latest additions to our team!

Nileema blogHi, I’m Nileema. My interest in counselling started when I first had counselling myself over twenty years ago. I saw the massive difference that counselling made to my life and felt inspired to train as a counsellor many years later. I have found that no matter what the problem, there is a space for it in counselling. I have worked with individual and couple clients. I also provide training and clinical supervision to counsellors.

I was really excited to join MS-UK in September 2017 to lead this exciting new service. My role is to run the service, carry out assessments with clients, ensure that we are legally compliant and work to high ethical standards, as well as provide counselling.

Jonathan blogHi, my name is Jonathan. I decided to train as a counsellor after appreciating the importance subjectivity plays in our lives, and the uniqueness this holds when attempting to understand our circumstances.

I am an integrative counsellor and have particular interest in the role that attachments play in our lives. One of the principles I strive to offer is autonomy, which is the respect for the client’s right to be self-governing. My intention is to offer choice to the best of my abilities, and aim to reflect this through a discussion of your expectations during our work together.

Wendy blogHi, my name is Wendy. I used to work as a learning support teacher and I became aware at the time of how children and their families needed additional support through counselling.

I am a qualified person-centred counsellor here at MS-UK. I am really keen to support clients by helping them understand themselves in light of their MS.

I have experienced the value that counselling can offer each individual through my own personal circumstances.

As a team, we are proud to be offering the only counselling service of its kind across the UK. We believe that by listening to people affected by MS, we can shape a great service and offer something that people need and want.

If you feel you may benefit from counselling, visit our website to download the client registration form, or you can call us on 01206 226500 or email us.

Posted in Anxiety, Charity, Chronic illness, Colchester, Counselling, Counselling Service, Depression, Diagnosis, disability, health, MS, MS symptoms, MS-UK, MS-UK Services, Multiple Sclerosis, neurology, Telephone counselling service, Uncategorized, wellbeing, Wellness | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Share your experiences to shape our Choices leaflets…


survey graphic

We are updating our Choices leaflets about diet, Primary Progressive MS (PPMS), speech and swallowing, visual symptoms and Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN). But we need your help!

If you have a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) please take our survey and share your experiences to help us shape the leaflets.

We hope that by including your experiences, our leaflets will truly resonate with people who turn to us for help.

Please be assured that any comments you give us will remain anonymous when published in our Choices leaflets.

Thank you for your help!

Best wishes,

The MS-UK Helpline team

Posted in Charity, Choices Leaflets, disability, health, Helpline, MS, MS drugs, MS symptoms, MS-UK, neurology, Survey, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A big thank you to Colchester Marks & Spencer!

two.jpgWay back in August 2017 we published a blog all about Colchester Marks & Spencer announcing that MS-UK was their charity of the year, so we wanted to update you!

Colchester Marks & Spencer ended the year with a great finale of fundraising events for us. In December they organised for volunteers and MS-UK to take part in some festive bag packing, and local singing groups The Harmonettes and CO2 theatre group performed for the three weeks in a row in store to get shoppers in the Christmas spirit!

It was great to see how happy customers were for having help with packing their food shopping and gifts, and the singing groups enjoyed entertaining the crowds with Christmas tunes. Over those three weeks, a grand total of £839.06 was collected by M&S in aid of MS-UK – which is absolutely fantastic!

We would love to say a huge thank you to our volunteers, The Harmonettes and CO2 theatre group for giving up their time to raise vital funds for MS-UK. Every penny raised by Colchester Marks & Spencer throughout 2017 will help us continue our work supporting anyone affected by multiple sclerosis (MS), which is a disease of the central nervous system.


Approximately 100,000 people in the UK have multiple sclerosis and MS is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. MS-UK is dedicated to empowering people affected by multiple sclerosis to make the most of today, and live life to the full, so a really huge thank you to Colchester Marks & Spencer for supporting us to make this possible!

Posted in Bag packing, Charity, Charity of the year, Christmas, Chronic illness, Colchester, disability, Donations, Fundraising, Marks and Spencer, MS, MS community, MS-UK, Multiple Sclerosis, Shopping, supporters, Uncategorized, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New year, new you?

Hi everyone,

Image of cyclist linking to website

It’s that time of year again when the resolutions begin piling up and before you know it you have given up chocolate! Well, we don’t want to ask you to do something as drastic as that, but we would love it if you’d support MS-UK as we celebrate our 25th anniversary!

If health and fitness is your thing, why not join one of our fantastic events happening in 2018…

Colchester Half Marathon

MS-UK is based in Colchester, Essex so this one is right on our doorstep, and there’s still time to join the race! 2018 is a very special year for us too, as MS-UK will be charity partners for the Colchester Half Marathon on Sunday 25 March.

Apply today on the Colchester Half Marathon website.

British 10k

Join 25,000 pairs of feet as they pound the streets of one of the world’s most iconic capital cities on Sunday 15 July.

Apply today on our website.

Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100
On Sunday 29 July the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 will start in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park before finishing on The Mall in central London.

Apply today on our website.

I would love to welcome you to #TeamPurple, so do check out our website for lots more fundraising ideas. Whatever you do in 2018, we all wish you lots of luck!

Best wishes,


Events Fundraiser, MS-UK

Posted in British 10k, Charity, Colchester, Colchester Half Marathon, Cycling, Essex, fitness, Fundraising, health, Marathon, MS, MS-UK, MS-UK 25th anniversary, Multiple Sclerosis, Prudential Ride London, RideLondon, Running, supporters, Uncategorized, Website | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest blog: New Year ponderings

In her latest guest blog Joanne ponders on Christmas, multiple sclerosis (MS) and ‘me time’…

Jo blog Jan 500

Like many of us, a #christmas #break was on my list but didn’t happen.

For the simple reason, there has been too much going on. The family has been battling bugs (which has made my #MS rubbish), many festivities with late nights, #travelling, #family politics and eating indulgent food. It has all had a toll. All adding up to putting my #writing on the back burner.

Many recent events can be put down to MS. My rubbish #walking (I’ve realised Prosecco doesn’t help, despite it tasting nice), #speech sounds like I’m drunk (I’m not but everyone assumes I’ve had a few!) #spilling drinks (more noticeable at this time of year when transporting from the kitchen to guests) breaking wine glasses which need clearing up (another sign that things aren’t right) and #forgetting important things like turning my Dad’s home upside down as I convinced myself that I’d lost my wedding rings (they were back at home). I’m also contending with lots of pain.

You can say I’m just a clumsy, forgetful cow and despite resting, I’ve probably pushed myself too much, resulting in the MonSter coming out.

Christmas has made me realise how real MS is. OK, so I knew MS was real. There has been lots of tears. Tears because I know this is my reality as I’m so frustrated. Like a well known sports brand “just do it” is what I want to be like, what I was previously to #multiplesclerosis but I can’t “just do it” because of this stupid disease. My body has given up. As that advert says, we are in that Christmas limbo period, when we’re probably having a break before new year. I’m sat in my pjs (it’s 4pm, hopefully no one is coming around), watching Christmas television on catch up and doing very little because I’m exhausted. I’m getting my break now.

So with a #newyear on the horizon, reflection in the air, what do I want differently for #2018:

Do the best you can

MS is a daily battle but remember you only have one shot at being you. Tears have come and gone. I will have good and bad days but doing the best I can is the only option.


There’s no magic pill to pop for MS (I’ve been told take this or eat that). Nothing cures, it may help, who knows. Fatigue for me, feels like I’m swimming in thick chocolate (there is probably too much of it at this time of year!)

Recharging doesn’t cure MS fatigue but helps. I wrote my tips for managing #fatigue as a mummy with MS for the #MSSociety. I said “MS is like having a battery that can’t be fully charged, so know your energy drainers, those things that just zap the life from you”. Christmas is an energy drainer. But I know next Christmas (or any big event) has to be different.

Don’t put pressure on yourself

In my past #writing, I’ve talked about this. I feel guilty for having no energy. I will continue to remind myself to cut some slack, especially as next year comes with more of little man’s milestones. I live with MS, that’s pressure enough.


This links with the previous point. This year has been full of acceptance. I’ve had grab rails, a walking stick, Blue Badge and a EDSS scale of 6 ( I had to google too!) All physical reminders that I’m no superwoman (I probably wasn’t before MS although I thought I was!) Life might be tough but accept all help and adjustment. Anything for a better life.

More ‘me time’

This year, #stleonardsyork have been great giving me more “me time”. I’ve tried #arttherapy, #laughteryoga and various treatments like #reflexogy. With my weekly stint of #pilates, I will plan in more “me time” for next year. Everyone deserves it.

This year, I’ve used writing as my therapy. I will continue to. Thank you to everyone who believes in me.

All there is to say, is have a fab 2018. Let’s hope it’s full of love, health and happiness. And sod resolutions!


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Posted in Charity, Christmas, Chronic illness, Depression, Diagnosis, disability, Disabled living, family and MS, Guest blog, health, MS, MS symptoms, MS-UK, Multiple Sclerosis, neurology, Pain, Twitter, Uncategorized, wellbeing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment