It’s Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week on the 24th-30th April, 2018.
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. ‘Sclerosis’ means scarring or hardening of tiny patches of tissue. ‘Multiple’ is added because this happens at more than one place in the brain and/or spinal cord. MS is not a terminal condition but it is one that you will live with for the rest of your life. It isn’t infectious or contagious so you can’t pass it on to other people.
MS is the most common condition of the central nervous system affecting young adults. Over 100,000 people in the UK have MS which is about one in every 600. It is nearly three times more common in women than in men. Most people are diagnosed in their 20s and 30s but it can be diagnosed in younger and older people. Although the effects of MS can vary greatly from person to person, the condition is often categorised into one of three broad types.
There is a wide range of possible symptoms but you usually experience only a small number around the time of diagnosis and you may never experience them all. Symptoms vary from person to person and from day to day. This can make your MS rather unpredictable and can take some getting used to.
Some of the most common symptoms around the time of diagnosis are fatigue (a kind of exhaustion which is out of all proportion to the task undertaken), stumbling more than before, unusual feelings in the skin (such as pins and needles or numbness), slowed thinking or problems with eyesight.
Many of these symptoms may be invisible to other people. This may upset you if you’re feeling very unwell but others think you look OK. You may need to explain that your MS is causing difficulties, rather than assuming that others can detect this.
The MS Awareness Week is an important date on the MS Trust Charity calendar as it helps raise awareness of this debilitating condition.
To help raise awareness they have launched Be Bold in Blue campaign and a new project to help young people affected by MS, with posters and cards to help spread the word during MS Awareness Week.
Being Bold in Blue can be as simple as encouraging people to dress up in blue for a donation or getting sponsored to wear blue nail polish for the week (popular with the men!). You could even take on a really bold fundraising challenge like dying your hair blue and then shaving it all off!
- Organise a cake sale at work and ask everyone to donate £1 to dress in blue for the day
- Hold a Be Bold in Blue quiz night at a pub or a collection day in your local shopping centre
- Fundraise at school by organising a sponsored silence or fun run
However you decide to Be Bold in Blue, you can be sure that the money you raise will make a real difference. Since 2011, together they have raised over £105,000 to support people with MS by providing information they can trust and training the MS health professionals they need. Head to the website to get your Be Bold in Blue fundraising kit.
It’s not too late to organise an event or to just Be Bold in Blue from the 24th-30th April. To celebrate MS Awareness Week they are also launching a brand new YouTube channel called MSTV for young people aged 11 to 17, who are affected by MS. The channel will feature videos to help you understand MS, you can subscribe to it on the MS Trust website.