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01 Dec 2021

"My main difficulty during Covid was the sense of isolation" - Kilkenny woman living with MS

World MS Day 2018 to raise awareness for people living with Multiple Sclerosis in County Donegal

World MS Day 2021 is today, Sunday, May 30th, to raise awareness for people living with Multiple Sclerosis.

In today’s current climate, the day takes on new importance as the 9,000 people in Ireland living with MS have faced various challenges throughout the pandemic - including Kilkenny woman Kathleen Stapleton.

The theme for World MS Day 2020-2022 is ‘connections’. The MS Connections campaign is all about building community connection, self-connection and connections to quality care.

Multiple Sclerosis Ireland is pleased to announce that World MS Day 2021 will take place Sunday, May 30th to raise awareness and support people living with MS, the most common debilitating neurological condition affecting young adults in Ireland.

The theme of World MS Day this year is ‘connections’ and the campaign is about challenging social barriers and stigma that can leave people affected by MS feeling lonely and isolated, Building communities that support and nurture people affected by MS, Promoting self-care and healthy living with MS, Lobbying decision-makers for better services and effective treatment for people with MS. It is an opportunity to advocate for better services, celebrate support networks and champion self-care.

Kathleen Stapleton, Kilkenny, has been Living With MS for 21 years. "My main difficulty during Covid was the sense of isolation, for example, not being able to meet my mother since the beginning of lockdown until 17th May 2021.  But I understand it was necessary to help prevent the transmission of the covid virus.

"The plus side of covid was that myself and Mike (her husband) got to go to DCU to take part in a specialised Physiotherapy Movement Exoskeleton Programme. This was my lifesaver. I look forward to the trip each week. it is so helpful to strengthening the movement in my legs and managing my MS. My family and DCU have been so helpful in organising lots of supports to make sure we can continue to go there."

Read more about Kathleen's story in the Kilkenny People this week.

Ava Battles, Chief Executive of MS Ireland said, “World MS Day is the MS movement’s annual campaign to raise awareness of the condition and to support and connect the 2.8 million people living with it worldwide, it is a day to celebrate global solidarity and hope for the future. In Ireland, it is a day where we shine a spotlight on the lives of the 9,000 people in Ireland living with MS, some of whose daily lives have been seriously impacted and altered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MS Connections campaign is all about building community connection. Unfortunately, as a result of the pandemic and restrictions some of these connections that our community heavily rely on may have suffered and in some cases are no longer available. Our community have endured cancelled appointments, delayed treatments, and restrictions on our services such as face to face community meet ups which meant they also lost some of the physical and emotional day-to-day support that is invaluable to them. The pandemic made us realise just how important these connections really are. World MS Day is a day where we can highlight how valued these connections are to the people we support as we all look forward to our lives going back to some normality in the coming months ahead.”

Virtual Balloon Race 2020, #9000balloons

World MS Day 2021 is set to be a very different affair to previous years. The international day of awareness and fundraising is met with a whole new set of challenges this year. Now, more than ever the MS community need support and advice. 

About MS

Multiple Sclerosis - meaning ‘many scars’-  the most common debilitating neurological condition affecting young adults in Ireland. It affects the motor, sensory and cognitive functioning of the body and is usually diagnosed between 20 and 40 years of age. The impact of MS on individuals, their families and the community can undermine the resilience that is needed for individuals to remain purposeful and in control of their lives. Three times more women than men are diagnosed with MS. There is no cause or cure.

MS Ireland is the national organisation providing information, vital services and support to the MS community. We provide a wide range of specialised services and resources on a national, regional and local level We also provide the only national respite and therapy centre for people with MS in Ireland.

Among other services, MS Ireland uses the funds raised to provide vital services that reduce the impact of MS including physiotherapy, general support services, and newly diagnosed seminars.

Members of the public with any queries relating to MS are invited to call the MS Information Line 1850 233 233 which is available Monday- Friday 9: 30am- 1-30 pm. All calls are strictly confidential.

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