Guest blog: Cyclopark Gravesend

In this guest blog, Christian recounts visiting the Cyclopark in Gravesend…

The cyclopark is a charity o20160921_120544.jpgrganisation that was purpose built with the help of lottery funding. Every Wednesday morning it is accessible to everyone with an array of bike options meaning everyone is able to feel the thrill of cycling. Bikes include trikes, wheelchair transporters, tandems, recumbent and hand recumbent.
The staff are amazing, getting on the right bike, helmeted up and on your way. Once signed off as competent you can go anytime you wish as long as you phone beforehand. They will check on availability of the bike you require and get it out so it’s waiting for you. Before the Paralympics I kept on procrastinating,  Kadeena Cox virtually kicked my backside,  I no longer wonder if I can but when I can.

The 30 minutes we are allotted sail by and it’s so much more fun than my exercise bike, my exercise bike doesn’t pull wheelies or skids (hang on that was a dream).

After about 2 miles we are a bit flagging and need refreshments, the cafe is large and they have a good array of food options. The park is easy to get to and parking is free with a blue badge but only a pound if you haven’t. 20160921_113956.jpg

If you are thinking about it give them a call!

Christian Rolfe

Posted in Charity, Cycling, disability, Do your own thing, Guest blog, MS, MS-UK, Multiple Sclerosis, Uncategorized, wellbeing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest blog: Open Your Red Door


Today we publish a Guest Blog article from Mary Ellen Ziliak about how she coped with the challenge of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

If you would like to write an article for our blog please contact

You can view the guidelines for writing for us online now at

img_6283-6x8-4-red-door-pic-bobbi-ziliakNo one has the luxury of living without the occasional life challenge. Challenges are diverse and rising above them demanding. But to live well and expand our territory beyond the challenge, reveals our character and can lead to unexpected joy.

1998 delivered my biggest life challenge, multiple sclerosis (MS). Being an RN did not spare me feeling my world had been turned upside down. Frequent relapses and treatment side effects made the early years difficult. Depression intertwined with losses of job, paycheck, and self-identity. A decade of asking, “What now?” was black with the overbearing shadow of MS.

Gradually, knowledge, discernment and the passage of time allowed light and hope to return. Along my stumbling journey I discovered MS could be a presence in my life but need not claim its center. A newfound philosophy emerged and I dubbed it “Open your Red Door!”

“The Red Door” is a painting I did of a large, weathered, door on a centuries old church in southwestern Indiana. Age has faded the red paint and splintered the wood. Over-sized black wrought iron hinges and placement on a corner turret lend a sense of mystery and intrigue. At first sight, the door beckoned me to take a closer look and to capture it’s essence on canvas.

The painting grew to be symbolic of my life challenge with multiple sclerosis. Like the Red Door, MS is mysterious, powerful, splintered, heavy, and no one knows what lies beyond. Opening the door may elicit angst, fear, sweat, and tears. Walking through it musters courage and guarantees adventure. Behind the door one might find a pot of gold or a pit of snakes. No one knows.

What I do know is to live life well with MS, I must choose the daunting entry. I must have courage to push the Red Door wide open, to cross the threshold of acceptance, to face my challenge head-on, to allow myself to find good on the other side of bad.
I am strong enough. I can cross bloodied and bandaged, groping my way through the doorway, as I believe healing awaits me on the other side.

Challenges are a part of living. What we do with them defines us. Opening my Red Door has empowered me to embrace change and try new things: becoming a published author, international speaker, half marathon runner, and an MS Certified Specialist. Not everyone will find my methods palatable, but I share my simple thoughts hoping they might resonate with one reader. So, whatever your life challenge, I cordially invite you to, “Open your Red Door and live life well!”

Find out more about Mary on her website at

Posted in Artist, Diagnosis, Guest blog, Mary Ellen Ziliak, MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Uncategorized, wellbeing | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Running for MS-UK…

Every year, a collection of amazing people take part in the Virgin Money London Marathon on behalf of MS-UK.

They raise an amazing amount of money for us, but they also become part of the family…here’s a quick video of just a couple of our dedicated runners…

If you’ve missed the ballot, do apply to run for MS-UK on our website, we still a few have Gold Bond places left. If you got into the ballot, congratulations! You can still run for us, of course, and we’ll treat you like the star you are…just get in touch.

Good luck everyone!


Posted in Charity, Fundraising, Gold Bond Places, London, MS, MS-UK, Multiple Sclerosis, Running, Uncategorized, Virgin Money London Marathon | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fundraiser of the month – Martin Smith!

fotmHi, my name is Martin Smith and at 57 I have just run (trundled) my first half-marathon – the Barns Green Half Marathon – in aid of MS-UK.

My beautiful sister-in-law, Helen, died recently as a result of MS. It was hard for the whole family to deal with but she was an inspiration to me and a wonderful person to be around. It was because of her that I chose to fundraise for MS-UK.

The challenge for me to run the race was laid down over a (very long) MS fundraising lunch last December – it seemed like a simple idea that afternoon; but it certainly didn’t when I had to get up the next morning to start training! The fact that there were some committed sponsors at the outset was a big incentive to get going and to keep going.

There were many mornings when it seemed like the ‘sensible thing’ was to stay in bed; but in the end the fundraising goal was always my motivation. Despite a 4-week setback with a torn muscle (please DO NOT try to run through the pain – especially if you are my age) I felt pretty ready on the day.

On the day I knew I had raised £700; but I also knew that this would rise to just over £800 if I managed to break 2 hours – the extra amount would be credited as ‘performance related pay’ by some of my (ex) friends.

By and large the run went well, at least to about 10 miles when I began struggling. At about that point I ran past a road sign which mockingly announced ‘Speed Warning!’ It took me a while to decide what the sign should have read (some pretty unprintable ideas came to mind), but I eventually decided it should have been called a ‘Lack of Speed Warning!!’ Nevertheless, when I next looked up I saw the 11-mile mark – it’s amazing how far a distraction can carry you!

I managed to get over the line in 1.59.18; which given my 2-hour target shows either a wonderful economy of effort or total fluke (yes, I know what you are thinking, and I tend to agree!)

At the beginning I was reticent to ask friends and colleagues to sponsor me, but I was very pleasantly surprised at their reaction. They were supportive throughout and they were genuinely pleased when I completed the run. My advice is not to be afraid to ask – everyone will see the good in what you are doing and most will wish they were doing it themselves.

My favourite message of support was ‘Good luck and ENJOY the day!’

Bear that in mind, whatever your challenge is.

Posted in Charity, Do your own thing, Fundraiser of the month, Fundraising, Half Marathon, MS, MS-UK, Multiple Sclerosis, Running, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Got a place in the ballot! Congratulations!

Hi everyone,

If you were lucky enough to get a place in the Virgin Money London Marathon ballot then congratulations! You’ll be joining thousands of runners on 23 April 2017!

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The 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon raised a world record £59.4 million for charity, and you can help make next year even better by running for MS-UK.

We give you all the support and guidance you need to make your marathon memorable, including providing you with loads of support throughout your training and welcoming you to our post-race reception for a massage and shower after you’ve completed the course!

When you race for MS-UK it’s about more than just the running. Every penny you raise goes towards continuing our vital services, providing support and information for people affected by multiple sclerosis. Through our website, Helpline, magazine and wellness centre we seek to empower people affected by MS to live full and independent lives.

So, get in touch with me today if you’d like to chat about running for MS-UK – I can’t wait to hear from you!

Best wishes,

Tracy signature

Tracy Wellsted

Head of Fundraising

Posted in Charity, Fundraising, Gold Bond Places, London, MS-UK, Multiple Sclerosis, Running, Uncategorized, Virgin Money London Marathon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest blog: Liz is saying ‘Yes’!

Today we publish another of our ‘Guest Blog’ articles from Liz about how she plans to attend a course all about multiple sclerosis.

If you would like to write an article for our blog please contact

You can view the guidelines for writing for us online now at

Liz Murby_300It is largely with thanks to my youngest sister, Anna, that I type yet another hopeful blog for possible publication in the MS-UK blog.

So what’s going forward for me right now..?

Firstly, me, me, me. The exercises Rachel Love ‘designed’ for me during my recent spell in Berrywood Hospital…no doubt MS related, but surprisingly, not that I was ever directly informed…made some lifelong friends during my brief-ish stay…friendships always good in my book!

Secondly, continue Professor Georgev Jelinek’s 7 Steps to Overcoming MS…nb., not curing, but Overcoming…Multiple sclerosis, can wait until after (I’ve made a good start, reaching page 29 of its 451 pages). The book is almost certainly available, cost-free to me and others within the UK, from

I trust you’ll find it as engaging as I am!

By happy co-incidence…If you’re as happy, and able as I am to use all tools available to address our ‘condition’, my copy of Open Door, the quarterly newsletter of Multiple Sclerosis Trust has literally just been delivered.., you cannot only enjoy reading it, and also communicate with the body via or freephone 08003323839.

Hey, just done it again Allanah, following our brief joint meeting with Mary Lowthian, just a couple of weeks back, I’m thrilled to report, for all MSers within striking distance: you know you’re out there, please join us: you know we’re stronger together…

Anyway, attentive and alert Allanah, and her team, together with agents from yet another burgeoning branch of the national MS Society, relatively locally based, are thrilled to give us plenty of notice of the forthcoming discursive/sharing forum: ‘Getting to Grips with MS’.

This unmissable exchange will take place on 08 October in Kettering.

You can check out the suitability / excellence of the venue itself, before making your decision to spend a couple of precious weekend hours meeting others that:

• understand each others ‘uniqueness’;
• are looking forward to enjoying learning a lot of genuinely useful stuff;
• possibly making a whole lot of new friends;

….refer to the blog’s title for my own response….er: YES!.

The thing is, our condition, yes MS, is not anybody’s fault…just as we are: all unique in our own ways: left-handed, right-handed, grammar-school educated, or school-leaver at 15/ as soon as possible…we might try to explain, worse, actually assign ( less favourable aspects of our current circumstances ) on MS…

My truth is that yesterday, one very old, OK, grown up, now 48 year old, primary school friend, her husband, and the oldest of her three daughters, collected me to take me to celebrate the life of the Wing Attack in our school netball team! Liz had lead a very active and 95% happy life, which we were all thrilled to celebrate with her…

I spent a rewarding and entertaining weekend celebrating SalAd [Sally and Adam]’s…geddit? joint 50th birthday celebration/occasion somewhere in the dune/woodland area in Wales, not too far from Swansea…see, if you put your mind to it, if you really want to, there’s maybe a chance you might be able to…give it a go…using sticks now, doubt I’ll congratulate Mum, Judith Tee, as was, for tennis playing endeavours, but can and WILL do what I am able for others with MS…doesn’t define me, does it define you?…

I hope I saw  you in Kettering, Getting to grips with MS on 08 October.

Posted in Chronic illness, disability, Getting to Grips, Guest blog, MS, MS community, MS News, MS Society, MS Trust, MS-UK, Multiple Sclerosis, Uncategorized, wellbeing | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Did you miss out? Do not fear!

Hello runners!

So, the news is coming out this week about ballot places for the Virgin Money London Marathon 2017. Over 250,000 UK applicants registered for a ballot place this time around, which is a record!

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If you miss out on a ballot place, do not fear, we still have some Gold Bond places left! Just complete our application form today, and we’ll be in touch.

We will give you all the support and guidance you need to make your marathon memorable, including providing you with loads of support throughout your training and welcoming you to our post-race reception for a massage and shower after you’ve completed the course!

For those of you still waiting to be told about a ballot place, good luck!

Best wishes,

Tracy signature

Tracy Wellsted

Head of Fundraising

Posted in Fundraising, Gold Bond Places, London, MS, MS community, MS-UK, Multiple Sclerosis, Running, Uncategorized, Virgin Money London Marathon | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment