THIS week is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week, and I’d like to tell your readers about this disabling neurological disease.
MS affects the central nervous system. Its cause is not known and there is no cure. It affects around 85,000 people in the UK, most often between the ages of 20 and 40. MS has affected such celebrities as cellist Jacqueline du Pre, footballer Danny Wallace, comedian Richard Pryor and former Dr Who, William Hartnell.
People with MS or other disabilities often find it extremely costly and difficult to organise a break away from their difficult daily routine because of their complex medical and care arrangements. As a result, a huge number of disabled people and their carers give up on the possibility of ever taking a break, due to the enormous physical or financial barriers they face. Carers also face exhaustion and the risk of becoming disabled themselves, and are in equally desperate need of relief. I work at a place called Vitalise Sandpipers, an accessible respite care centre in Southport run by national disability charity Vitalise. Each year we welcome many hundreds of disabled people and carers to enjoy much-needed breaks with us – breaks which often mean the difference between coping and despair.
But we couldn’t do it without the generosity of our supporters. If you would like to find out more about our breaks or how you can support Vitalise, please call us on 0845 345 1972 or visit www.vitalise.org.uk.