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Five minutes with a fundraiser: Liz Thompson

Five minutes with a fundraiser: Liz Thompson

I didn’t know much about MS at all, so to
start with it was a real shock, and also you feel like you are plunged into not knowing.
I think there’s a great deal of fear at the beginning because you know what the worst
case scenarios can be. It’s very difficult to find some balanced information but also
to appreciate what the balance is. So I think the main thing when you’re first diagnosed
is fear, you’re just looking into the unknown and it’s very scary. To start with it was information when I was
trying to get as much information as I could to understand what the disease is and how
it is likely to affect you. I’d done a load of Googling, found loads of different sites
and what I found was that there were a lot of sites where it felt like they were just
too scary, where they were almost trying to paint it as the worst possible thing that
could happen to you. Then other sites where I felt they were a little bit patronising
and ‘there, there’ it will all be fine approach. What I found with the MS Trust is that they
have really clear information, really factual information, and it was just presented in
an informative way that didn’t patronise. Since then, there’s been lots of different
things that the MS Trust has offered and one of them was that it was through the MS Trust
that I first got involved in fundraising and it was through the fundraising that I then
made a major change in my life, which was to change from the work that I was doing and
open my own business, that was with cakes and cake decorating. After that, where’s it’s
been quite important is that I’ve had the opportunity to be able to talk to health professionals
who support people with MS, work with people with MS, do research into how to help people
with MS, and to be able to talk to those people and maybe influence a little bit is really
positive. That’s changed over time as my needs have
changed. So to start with, he was, oh my goodness, he was just the all knowing person who I could
contact at any time. So I could contact through email, I could phone direct, so if anything
was happening, then he was the person who I would go to straight away to talk to, to
find out if it was something I needed to be concerned about. There was a couple of times
when I took steroids to stop a relapse which was done through Hussein and as time has progressed
and I have become more confident in understanding what’s going on then sometimes he has been
then for reassurance and encouragement and guidance. To encourage you to keep going,
to keep exercising, to make the most of your life.
One thing is to see if you can get in touch with somebody who has MS, somebody who was
diagnosed a few years before and for me that made such a difference. I didn’t know anybody
with MS, and it was a colleague who gave me the contact details of a close friend of hers
who had been diagnosed 10 years before. I had a 15-minute conversation with them and
it just made so difference. I just felt as if I was speaking to somebody who understood
in a way that somebody who doesn’t have MS can’t understand. So that really made such
a positive difference. I think the other thing is as you progress, piece of advice that somebody
gave me, who doesn’t have MS, but they said what you need to do is always focus on what
you can do, and not on what you can’t do and I’ve followed that piece of advice for years
now and I think it just makes such a difference. So always focus on the positive, not the negative.

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